South Korea said Wednesday that it has recovered the wreckage of a North Korean satellite from the sea off the country’s coast. The satellite was launched on May 31 but ended up sinking into the sea following a botched-up takeoff. Though it can be considered a major intelligence win for Seoul, experts have found the object had little military value.
The South Korean military said last month that it had recovered parts of the rocket used in the failed launch.
“After detailed analysis on major parts of North Korea’s space launch vehicle and satellite which were salvaged, South Korean and US experts have assessed that they had no military utility as a reconnaissance satellite at all,” the military said in a statement.
Salvage operations ended
With the recovery of the satellite wreckage, the South Korean military has ended its salvage operation which was started soon after the object plunged into the Yellow Sea off South Korea’s west coast. As per officials, it is the first time South Korea has acquired crucial parts of North Korea’s military satellite.
According to Reuters, the South Korean Navy and deep-sea divers were involved in the efforts to retrieve the wreckage.
The salvage operation could help Seoul gather more evidence of possible sanction violations by Pyongyang in the procurement of the equipment used in manufacturing the satellite. Also, the wreckage could provide details about North Korea’s secretive rocket programme.
Spy satellite could target US, Japan and South Korea
North Korea has expressed its intention to deploy spy satellites in order to monitor military installations in South Korea and Japan, where the United States maintains a significant presence.
Despite being prohibited by United Nations Security Council resolutions from conducting ballistic missile tests, North Korea has consistently argued that it has the right to pursue a civilian space programme for launching satellites.
However, the US and its allies have cautioned that the technology developed through North Korea’s space programme could potentially be utilised to enhance its ballistic missile capabilities.
Under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been intensifying its efforts to enhance the domestic technology and components used in its latest range of missiles.
However, the country still relies on external sources for certain materials and components, which it is unable to obtain due to international sanctions imposed as a consequence of its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile systems.
Source : WION