| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

South Korea salvages North Korea spy satellite rocket; to examine debris

On Friday, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff made an announcement stating that they have successfully recovered a fragment of a rocket, which was part of North Korea’s unsuccessful attempt to launch a military satellite. The retrieved debris was obtained on Thursday evening, and ongoing efforts are underway to locate additional objects from the space launch vehicle claimed by North Korea.
As per Reuters, North Korea made an unsuccessful endeavour to launch its first spy satellite on May 31. The failed attempt resulted in the rocket’s booster and payload plunging into the sea.
The salvage operation was initiated with the intention of examining the new rocket.

South Korea had already discovered debris off its western coast shortly after the launch. Photographs released by the South Korean military displayed a large cylindrical object labelled “Chonma” in Korean, meaning a winged horse. North Korea had referred to the rocket as “Chollima-1.”

In an official statement, the military declared that “the salvaged object will be thoroughly analysed by expert organisations, including the Agency for Defense Development.”
South Korea’s Defense Minister, Lee Jong-sup, as per Reuters, indicated that the retrieved debris seemed to belong to the rocket’s second stage, and efforts to locate the payload and third stage would continue.

The launch and other nations
On Monday, South Korea revealed that Chinese warships had also conducted a salvage operation in the waters where the North Korean rocket had crashed. However, Reuters reports that it remains uncertain whether the Chinese military is still engaged in the search.

Both Seoul and Washington have denounced the launch as a provocative act and a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit North Korea from employing ballistic missile technology.

Pyongyang, however, claimed its right to space development as a response to perceived US “aggression” and expressed intentions to conduct another launch in the near future.

In response to North Korea’s firing of two short-range missiles off its east coast and the regime’s warning of an “inevitable” response to military exercises conducted by South Korean and US troops, a US submarine arrived in South Korea on Friday. This is also seen as a demonstration of strength.

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