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North Korean spy satellite crashes into the sea after failed launch

A public TV screen broadcasts news of North Korea's launch of its first spy satellite
A public TV screen broadcasts news of North Korea's launch of its first spy satellite Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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A North Korean spy satellite crashed into the sea after its unsuccessful launch, causing alerts to be issued in neighbouring Japan and South Korea.


North Korea announced on Wednesday that it had failed to launch its first "military reconnaissance satellite", which it says plunged into the sea near South Korea.

"The new Cheollima-1 satellite transport rocket crashed into the West Sea," North Korea's state news agency KCNA said, adding that the failure was caused by "a loss of thrust due to an abnormal start-up of the second-stage engine after the first stage separated during normal flight."

North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un has made the development of satellites a military priority, a programme that Washington says is in breach of UN sanctions.

An evacuation order sent by mistake to the residents of Seoul following the launch caused panic in the South Korean capital. 

AP Photo
A woman looks at her mobile phone with an emergency evacuation warning text message sent to Seoul residents.AP Photo

The alert, which urged residents to prepare for an evacuation by putting "children and the elderly first", was later cancelled with the Interior Ministry saying there was an error.

A missile alert was also issued by the Japanese Department of Okinawa, calling on residents to take shelter. The alert was then lifted by the government 30 minutes later.

The South Korean military said it was salvaging an object presumed to be part of the crashed North Korean rocket in waters 200 kilometres west of the southwestern island of Eocheongdo. 

The country's Defence Ministry later released photos of a white, metal cylinder it described as a suspected rocket part.

The satellite is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that ban the country from conducting any launch based on ballistic technology.

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