Seoul, July 5 (EFE).- South Korea announced Wednesday that it has found the wreckage of the North Korean spy satellite that crashed into the Yellow Sea on May 31 and concluded it “has no military utility.”
For 36 days, military deep sea divers conducted search and recovery operations for the remains of the rocket and the satellite it carried, with the operation concluding Wednesday, according to the South’s defense ministry.
“Through this operation, major parts of the North Korean space launch vehicle and satellite were salvaged, and as a result of careful analysis by Korean and American experts, it was evaluated as having no military utility as a reconnaissance satellite,” said the ministry’s statement.
It praised the divers for having salvaged a large amount of debris “even in a difficult operational environment.”
On May 31, North Korea launched a new type of space rocket, the Chollima-1, from the Sohae base, with what it claimed was the regime’s first military reconnaissance satellite, the Malligyong-1.
However, it crashed into the Yellow Sea, about 50 kilometers west of the South Korean coast and about 180 kilometers southwest of Seoul, “after losing thrust due to the abnormal starting of the second-stage engine,” according to North Korean state media.
The South Korean army began a large operation in the area to try to recover the debris – something that Chinese military ships also did – and on June 15 it managed to refloat a huge part of the rocket.
When Pyongyang launched its first test launch of a spy satellite in December that took photos from space of Seoul and the neighboring South Korean city of Incheon, South Korean experts indicated that the images published by the regime did not have anywhere near the resolution of a reconnaissance satellite.
These statements drew an angry response from Kim Yo-jong, sister of leader Kim Jong-un, from whom many also expect an angry response to the message issued Wednesday by South Korea.
After the failure of the 2019 denuclearization negotiations, tensions rose on the Korean Peninsula, with Pyongyang rejecting any offer of dialogue and carrying out a record number of missile tests.
Meanwhile, Seoul and Washington resumed their large-scale joint exercises and periodically deploy US strategic assets in the region on a rotating basis. EFE