In what is being described as a setback for North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, an attempt by North Korea to put a satellite into orbit spectacularly failed.
On Friday, the satellite disintegrated in a different kind of fireworks. The rocket carrying it exploded midair about one minute after the liftoff, according to American, South Korean and Japanese officials. The rocket and satellite — which cost the impoverished country an estimated $450 million to build, according to South Korean government estimates — splintered into many pieces and plunged into the gray blue waters of the Yellow Sea.
The failed launching drew swift international condemnation, including the suspension by the United States of food aid, and raised concerns that the North might speed ahead with what satellite photographs suggest are preparations for a nuclear test — the country’s third.
With their previous record of failed launches and this one being so public, one has to wonder why Kim Jong-un was willing to forfeit feeding his people to launch this missile.
More at Reuters and Wall Street Journal.