North Korean officials have vowed to push for a second attempt to launch a spy satellite after labelling a failed first attempt “the most serious” shortcoming of the year, state media reported on Monday.

They harshly criticised the people behind May’s launch which saw a military reconnaissance satellite crash soon after lift-off, posing a setback to leader Kim Jong Un’s bid for a space-base surveillance system.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said a report to a three-day ruling party meeting which ended on Sunday, “bitterly criticised the officials who irresponsibly conducted the preparations for (the) satellite launch.”

The report called on officials and scientists to learn the lesson of the failed launch, find what caused the rocket’s crash and make a successful launch in a short span of time, KCNA said.

North Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, bottom centre on stage, attends an enlarged plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee at the party’s headquarters in Pyongyang (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP)

It did not say exactly when North Korea might attempt a second launch, but South Korea’s spy agency earlier told lawmakers it would take “more than several weeks” to determine what went wrong in the failed launch.

North Korea monitoring groups have not reported any purges or dismissals of scientists or others involved in the failed launch.

A spy satellite is among several high-tech military assets the Korean leader has vowed to acquire to cope with what he calls US-led hostility, along with a multi-warhead missile, a nuclear submarine, a solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile and a hypersonic missile.

During the meeting, Politburo members analysed the “extremely deteriorating security situation” in the region caused by the “reckless war moves” of North Korea’s rivals, the report said.

The United States and South Korea have been expanding their military drills in response to North Korea’s advancing nuclear arsenal and warn any attempt to use nuclear weapons would result in the end of the current regime.

South Korea Koreas Tensions
A TV screen shows a file image of North Korea’s rocket launch during a news programme at the Seoul Railway Station in South Korea, Monda (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

The Politburo members set down unspecified “important tasks” for strengthening solidarity with countries that are “opposed to the US brigandish strategy for world supremacy,” KCNA said.

North Korea has pushed to boost relations with Russia, including defending its military action in Ukraine. It says Russia is protecting itself against the West’s “hegemonic policy.”

The North has also sought to build on its ties with China, its main ally and economic lifeline that is locked in an intensified strategic rivalry with the United States over trade, technology and regional influence.

The party meeting also discussed efforts to improve North Korea’s struggling economy, which experts say has been further strained by pandemic-related border closures.