North Korea’s rocket launch a failure
A North Korean rocket launch has been confirmed as a “failure”, the country’s official news agency said, confirming earlier reports by neighbouring countries.
“The earth observation satellite failed to enter its preset orbit. Scientists, technicians and experts are now looking into the cause of the failure,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency reported.
Kim Sung-hwan, South Korea’s foreign minister, had earlier told journalists that the rocket disintegrated a few minutes after lift-off, losing altitude and showering debris into the ocean.
“In terms of what exactly happened, South Korea’s defence ministry has given us what could be the clearest appreciation so far,” Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reported from the South Korean capital Seoul.
“They say it hit a maximum height of 151km before they believe it blew up and came into the sea in some 20 pieces off the coast of the Korean peninsula about 100 – 150 km away,” he said.
North Korea had said the rocket was aimed at putting a satellite in orbit for peaceful research purposes, but Western critics said the launch amounted to a disguised ballistic missile test, banned by United Nations resolutions.
“North Korea’s launch… is a clear breach of the UN resolution that prohibits any launch using ballistic missile technology. It is a provocative act threatening peace and security on the Korean peninsula and Northeast Asia,” South Korea’s Kim said.