North Korea: Satellite launch failure was a ‘major failure’

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea said the failure to launch its military satellite last month was the “biggest failure” of the ruling party’s last major meeting, state news agency KCNA reported on Monday.

The expanded plenary meeting took place between Friday and Sunday, instructing workers and researchers to analyze a failed military satellite launch and prepare for another in the near future.

The report said those responsible for launching the satellite were “severely criticized”.

It marks the eighth enlarged plenary meeting of the Eighth Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), the country’s ruling party.

After the launch failure, in an unusually frank admission of a technical problem, Pyongyang said the North Korean missile fell into the sea “after losing thrust due to the abnormal operation of the second stage engine”.

North Korea also pledged that it would continue to develop its nuclear capabilities and strengthen solidarity with other countries that oppose what it called “the US strategy to dominate the world.”

The meeting also discussed ensuring self-sufficiency in food supplies by increasing the country’s agricultural production and achieving the annual grain production target.

Earlier this year, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said the food situation in the North “appears to have deteriorated.”

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The isolated nation is under tough international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and its economy has been further strained by strict self-imposed border closures aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19.

Separately, the KCNA report said that Kim Yong Chol, who previously served as director of the United Front Department and close aide to leader Kim Jong Un, was appointed as an alternate member of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee.

A South Korean lawmaker said at the time that Kim was sidelined after a summit with the United States in 2019 failed to produce an agreement. He managed the negotiations for the summit working with his then US counterpart and former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Diane Craft

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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