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North Korea says botched satellite launch was 'gravest failure'

Published 06/18/2023, 05:52 PM
Updated 06/19/2023, 05:36 AM
© Reuters. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the 8th enlarged Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 17, 2023.  K

By Hyunsu Yim

SEOUL (Reuters) -An unusually candid North Korea has said the botched launch of a military satellite last month was the "gravest failure" but it vowed it would soon succeed in its quest, state media reported on Monday.

North Korea's ruling party made the assessment of its May 31 launch at a three-day meeting that ended on Sunday, ordering workers and researchers to analyse the mission that ended with the rocket and its spy satellite pay load plunging into the sea, and to prepare for another launch soon.

Officials "who irresponsibly conducted preparations" for the failed launch were "bitterly criticised" at the meeting, the KCNA state news agency reported.

The rocket failed "after losing thrust due to the abnormal starting of the second-stage engine", North Korea said at the time.

Nuclear-armed North Korea had earlier said it would launch its first military reconnaissance satellite to boost monitoring of U.S. military activities, another step in a military programme that has raised fears of war.

South Korea's navy last week recovered a large, cylindrical part of the rocket, raising it from the sea off the west coast, which experts said could provide clues to the North's rocket development.

The North's state media said the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee also discussed bolstering nuclear capabilities and stepping up production of nuclear weapons.

Leader Kim Jong Un attended the meeting, KCNA said, but it made no mention of whether he made a speech or delivered a report, as he usually does at such important policy-making sessions.

A spokesperson for South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North, said the absence of a report of a speech by Kim was "extremely rare".

That and the blaming of low-ranking officials for the failure of the launch could indicate a loss of confidence, the ministry said.

The party also discussed ensuring sufficient food supplies.

South Korea recently said the food situation in the North, which has in the past suffered famines, "seemed to have deteriorated".

© Reuters. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends the 8th enlarged Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 19, 2023. KCNA via REUTERS

Isolated North Korea is under international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes and its economy was further strained by self-imposed border lockdowns aimed at stopping COVID-19.

Separately, KCNA reported that Kim Yong Chol, a top official who was believed to have been sidelined after a 2019 summit with the U.S. ended in failure, had been named as an alternate member of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee.

Latest comments

Nice propaganda, did you talk about the US failed launch last year the same way? They sent man to the moon over 50 years ago, meanwhile Brandon's woke NASA failed to launch their "most diverse space crew ever" last year for a preliminary moon mission. This is what leftism is, trillions and trillions of pork barrel spending that is just going to send us back to the stone age. Democrats do not care about race and gender, they just want a bunch of genderless slaves to work the coalmines while people like Biden live in mansions with their cr.ackhead sons.
Nk is complete joke
Bad fuse in the firecracker
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