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North Korea fails second attempt to launch spy satellite but vows to try again


(LONDON) — North Korea said a second attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit failed early Thursday, but the reclusive country vowed to launch another in the coming months.

The Malligyeong-1 reconnaissance satellite was mounted on a new type of carrier rocket called the Chollima-1 and launched from a station in North Pyongan province in the early morning hours, according to the state-run Korea Central News Agency (KCNA). The first and second stages “all flew normally, but failed due to an error in the emergency explosion system during the flight of the third stage,” KCNA said in a statement.

North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration is investigating the cause of the accident and plans to attempt a third launch in October, according to KCNA.

North Korea attempted to launch its first spy satellite on May 31, but it crashed into the West Sea after an “abnormal starting” of the second-stage engine, KCNA said at the time.

In 2018, North Korea claimed to have put a satellite into space but international analysts later said that wasn’t true.

Thursday’s second attempt coincided with joint military drills between South Korea and the United States, which North Korea has long denounced.

The U.S., South Korea and Japan all issued statements “strongly” condemning North Korea’s use of ballistic missile technology for its launch, which despite its failure they said is in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. The three allies also reaffirmed their commitment to work closely together to achieve “complete denuclearization” of North Korea in line with the U.N. Security Council resolutions.

“This space launch involved technologies that are directly related to the DPRK intercontinental ballistic missile program,” Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, said in a statement, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name. “The President’s national security team is assessing the situation in close coordination with our allies and partners.”

“The door has not closed on diplomacy but Pyongyang must immediately cease its provocative actions and instead choose engagement,” Watson added. “The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and the defense of our Republic of Korea and Japanese allies.”

The incident was assessed as not posting “an immediate threat to U.S. personnel, territory, or that of our allies,” according to a statement from the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, which noted that it would “continue to monitor the situation.”

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement the military “was prepared in advance through identifying signs of an imminent launch.”

The office for Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi confirmed that he held a telephone call with his South Korean and U.S. counterparts on Thursday morning to discuss North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch. The three officials agreed that the launches are happening “in an unprecedented frequency and in new manners” and that they “constitute a grave and imminent threat to the regional security and pose a clear and serious challenge to the international community,” according to a statement from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Group of Seven, an intergovernmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S., also released a statement condemning “in the strongest terms” North Korea’s launch.

ABC News’ Joohee Cho, Ellie Kaufman, Hakyung Kate Lee, Matt Seyler and Anthony Trotter contributed to this report.

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