North Korea's spy satellite launch ends in failure: what happened as Kim Jong Un plans second attempt
Local media confirmed that the projectile had crashed into the sea and sparked emergency warnings in South Korea and Japan
North Korea's launch of its first-ever spy satellite ended in failure after a device malfunction sent the projectile crashing down into the sea on Wednesday (31 May).
It has been described as a major setback for Kim Jong Un's military ambitions as tensions with the United States and South Korea continue to rise. Following the regime's quick admission that not everything went to plan with the launch, officials have gone on to promise that they will conduct a second attempt after learning what went wrong.
Ri Pyong Chol, vice-chairman of North Korea's central military commission, spoke of the launch plans on Tuesday and described the motivation to respond to "reckless military acts" by the US and South Korea as fears of all-out nuclear war continue to be raised.
But what happened during the first launch, where did it go wrong and what effect has it had on relations with other countries?
What happened and why did North Korea's spy satellite launch fail?
The recently developed rocket, which was named Chollima-1 and carried the Malligyong-1 satellite, was launched at 6.37am local time from the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground in the northwest of the country. It did not take long for it to crash off the Korean Peninsula's western coast.
After sinking to the bottom of the sea, a North Korea rocket launch once again prompted brief evacuation alerts in South Korea and Japan. Seoul's military confirmed it was working in coordination with the United States to respond to the incident, while it is understood Japan was prepared for any possible scenario.
Korean Central News Agency has confirmed that the projectile lost thrust following the launch phase and in between the first and second stage which led to the failure. No object is believed to have reached space and South Korean military described the flight of the rocket as "abnormal".
North Korea officials in charge of space policy are already investigating any defects during the launch as they try to overcome the issues and conduct a second attempt.
Has North Korea's launch worsened tensions with other countries?
North Korea and Kim Jong Un, who already have frosty tensions with the likes of the United States, South Korea and others, will have done nothing to ease relations with the failed launch of its first spy satellite.
It is a breach of UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit the country from conducting any launch based on ballistic technology and acts as a sign that Mr Kim is still determined to expand his weapons arsenal.
Adam Hodge, a spokesperson at the UN National Security Council, said in a statement that Washington strongly condemns the North Korean launch because it used banned ballistic missile technology, raised tensions and risked destabilising security in the region and beyond.
He said: "The door has not closed on diplomacy but Pyongyang must immediately cease its provocative actions and instead choose engagement," before adding that the country would take all necessary measures to protect both itself and its allies.