An analysis of the North Korean spy satellite showed the long-ranged rocket didn’t have “military utility as a reconnaissance satellite at all,” South Korea has claimed.
The damning finding comes a few weeks after the botched launch took place on May 31.
The rocket launched by Pyongyang plunged into the sea off South Korea’s west coast soon after takeoff.
Seoul’s military began operations to recover the wreckage shortly after and, at the end of a 36-day-long operation, it said to have retrieved “numerous” and “key” parts.
The debris was later analysed by both South Korean and US experts, who on Wednesday delivered the humiliating verdict.
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Lee Choon-geun, an expert at South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, said the initial assessment indicated the satellite’s reconnaissance was poor in terms of resolution and its ability to trace targets.
North Korea had previously said the rocket was part of a space-based intelligence system which would allow Pyongyang to better monitor the US and South Korea.
The country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, also said acquiring a military spy satellite is crucial to beef up his country’s defence capability alongside other high-tech weapons systems such as multi-warhead nuclear missiles, solid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear-powered submarines.
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The hermit state’s leadership, who didn’t respond to the announcement made by South Korea, previously explained the failed lunch saying the rocket had lost thrust.
During a meeting of the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea in mid-June, top North Korean officials pledged to do a second launch of a military spy satellite.
They also branded the first botched attempt their “gravest failure” this year and, as they ordered workers and researchers to analyse the failed launch, the Korean Central News Agency reported those in charge of the operation had been “heavily criticised”.
The launch itself had been heavily criticised by Washington and Seoul, who said it violated the UN resolutions barring Pyongyang from carrying out any tests using ballistic missile technology.
North Korea, where a few residents recently revealed food is so scarce they fear the country may plunge once again into a famine, has been pursuing a satellite launch programme since the 1990s.
Pyongyang launched objects into orbit in 2012 and 2016, which it described as observation satellites.
However, officials from other countries never confirmed these objects are working or transmitting signals.
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