North Korea's spy satellite crashes into the sea in failed launch
Pyongyang, North Korea - North Korea's attempt to launch a satellite failed on Wednesday as the rocket crashed into the sea, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
A statement carried by KCNA said the rocket carrying the "military reconnaissance satellite" crashed off the Korean Peninsula's western coast after "losing thrust due to abnormal starting" of the second-stage engine.
The failure was due to "low reliability and stability" of a new engine system, it said. The statement said scientists were examining the cause of the failure.
A second launch would take place "as soon as possible," KCNA reported.
The US strongly condemned the launch.
"This claimed space launch involved technologies that are directly related to the [North Korean] intercontinental ballistic missile program," said Adam Hodge, spokesperson for the White House's National Security Committee.
"The door has not closed on diplomacy, but Pyongyang must immediately cease its provocative actions and instead choose engagement," Hodge said.
The launch increased tensions in the region and could destabilize the security situation, and "is a brazen violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, raises tensions, and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond," the statement continued.
Hodge said that Washington would "take all necessary measures to ensure the security" of the US, South Korea, and Japan.
North Korean satellite launch causes panic in Seoul
The launch caused uncertainty in Seoul, the South Korean General Staff said. Sirens were heard in the South Korean capital and in text messages, citizens were asked to go to shelters if necessary. News agency Yonhap later cited the Interior Ministry as saying that the alert was sent by mistake.
South Korean military said that the projectile flew over the Yellow Sea between the Korean Peninsula and China and did not affect the Seoul metropolitan area, Yonhap also reported.
The Japanese Coast Guard on Monday said it had been informed by North Korea that Pyongyang was planning a satellite launch between May 31 and June 11 despite criticism that it would violate UN resolutions prohibiting North Korea from testing ballistic missiles.
Space and long-range missiles are largely based on the same technology.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have increased considerably since last year. North Korea is increasingly testing nuclear-capable missiles, despite the UN ban. Observers fear that Pyongyang's first nuclear test in years is imminent.
Cover photo: via REUTERS