Pyongyang fired off a projectile at 6:27 a.m. (2127 GMT) on May 31 and it flew southwards from Dongchang-ri some 110 kilometers (68 miles) northwest of Pyongyang over Baekryeong Island, a South Korean island located near the Northern Limit Line. According to the defense ministry, the projectile went off the radar before it reached its projected landing area.
South Korea's Joint Chief of Staff said that the defense ministry engaged in a salvage operation for the first and second-stage rockets 200 kilometers west of Eocheong Island some 190 kilometers southwest of Seoul. Pyongyang had previously notified the International Maritime Organization's office in Japan that a rocket carrying a satellite will be launched between midnight May 31 and midnight June 11.
"It is likely that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has become infuriated by the failed rocket launch," Jung Se-hyun, a South Korean politician who served as a Unification Minister under two consecutive presidents from 2002 to 2004, said during a CBS radio show on June 1. Jung said that if the follow-up launch is not carried out as soon as possible, it is likely for some related personnel to be dragged into concentration camps. "They would try to make it work under e a life or death situation," the expert in North Korean affairs analyzed.
After the failed launch, Pyongyang admitted that the launch of the rocket failed in an unprecedented announcement through the state-operated Korea Central News Agency on May 31. Kim Yo Jong, North Korea's vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party also released a press statement on June 1 and said: "It is certain that the DPRK's military reconnaissance satellite will be correctly put on space orbit in the near future and start its mission."
Jung predicted that because North Korea had notified Japan that Pyongyang would fire a space rocket between May 31 and June 11, there is a chance that North Korea would have another attempt at launching a new military spy satellite using a rocket. "Researchers would stay up all night if they have to in order to rebuild the self-pride of their supreme leader," Jung said.
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