Updated May 28th, 2024 at 09:28 IST

Another Setback for Kim Jong Un After 2nd Spy Satellite Explodes Mid-Air

The major setback for Kim came hours after leaders of South Korea, China and Japan met in Seoul in their first trilateral meeting in more than four since 2019.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Another Setback for Kim Jong Un After 2nd Spy Satellite Explodes Mid-Air | Image:AP
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Seoul: In another major blow to Kim Jong Un's long ambition to field satellite to monitor the United States and South Korea, a second North Korean spy satellite exploded shortly after its launch on Monday, state media reported, KCNA.

The state media said that the spy satellite was launched aboard a new rocket at its main northwestern space centre. But KCNA added that the rocket blew up during the first-stage flight soon after liftoff due to a suspected engine problem.

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Citing an unidentified vice director of the National Aerospace Technology Administration, the state media reported that a preliminary examination showed that the explosion was related to the reliability of operation of the rocket's newly developed liquid oxygen-petroleum engine. The official added that other possible causes will be investigated.

This launch was rebuked by North Korea's neighbour as the United Nations banned the country from conducting any such launches amid viewing its long-range missile technology testings.

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The major setback for Kim came hours after leaders of South Korea, China and Japan met in Seoul in their first trilateral meeting in more than four since 2019.

After the leaders released a joint statement, North Korea's Foreign Ministry strongly criticised them, calling them "wanton interference in its internal affairs." The ministry took issue with parts of the joint statement that said the three leaders re-emphasized their positions on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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Meanwhile, as North Korea was all set to launch the spy satellites, the Japanese government briefly issued a missile warning for the southern prefecture of Okinawa, urging its residents to take shelter inside buildings and other safer places.

Defence Minister Minoru Kihara called this launch a "serious challenge to the entire world."

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Furthermore, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida urged the North to withdraw its launch plan, but Li didn't mention the launch plan as he offered general comments about promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula through a political resolution.

South Korea's Unification Ministry called the satellite launch by the North "a provocation that seriously threatens our and regional security."

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In recent years, North Korea has steadfastly maintained it has the right to launch satellites and test missiles. Kim's primary focus has been on Russia, as Pyongyang and Moscow — both locked in confrontations with Washington —while expanding their military cooperation. China, on the other hand, which is much more sensitive about its international reputation, has joined Russia in blocking US-led efforts at the UN Security Council to tighten sanctions on the North but has been less bold and open about supporting Kim's "new Cold War" drive.

(Inputs from AP)

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Published May 28th, 2024 at 09:28 IST