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North Korean leader orders launch of first spy satellite as planned


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North Korean leader orders launch of first spy satellite as planned

NORTH KOREAN VILLAGE. The North Korean propaganda village 'Gijungdong' is seen from a South Korean observation post inside the Joint Security Area during a media tour at the JSA on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, 03 March 2023.


State news agency KCNA says the satellite production has been completed but it does not elaborate when the launch is scheduled for

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said preparations for the planned launch of the country’s first spy satellite should go ahead to counter what he called threats from the United States and South Korea, state media reported on Wednesday, April 19.

Analysts say the military satellite is part of the reclusive, nuclear-armed state’s efforts to advance surveillance technology, including drones, to improve its ability to strike targets in the event of a conflict.

North Korea in December conducted what it called an important “final phase” test for the spy satellite and said it would complete preparations for the launch by April. At that time, it released grainy black and white images of the South Korean capital Seoul, which it said had been taken during the test.

During a visit to the official space agency on Tuesday, April 18, Kim told officials to ensure the launch went ahead on time, and also ordered a series of more reconnaissance satellites to be launched, state news agency KCNA said.

KCNA said the satellite production has been completed but it did not elaborate when the launch is scheduled for.

‘Breach of UN sanctions’

Kim said it was “natural” for the North to develop its military deterrence, criticizing deployment of US strategic assets in the region as an attempt “to turn South Korea into an advanced base for aggression and an arsenal for war.”

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said even if Pyongyang called it a satellite, any North Korean launch involving a ballistic missile technology would be a clear breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

A state media photo showed Kim, accompanied by his daughter, talking to officials in front of a blurred image of an apparent satellite.

North Korea has undertaken an array of missile and weapons tests in recent months, most recently a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Pyongyang has been threatening “more practical and offensive” action over South Korea-US exercises, and refusing to answer inter-Korean hotlines.

In December, five North Korean drones crossed into South Korea and South Korea responded by sending surveillance aircraft into the North to photograph its military.

Kim Dong-yup, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, said North Korea wants to use satellites to try and secure real-time information necessary to hit targets when mobilizing its missiles and other nuclear delivery systems.

North Korea has had multiple attempts to launch “earth observation” satellites, of which two appeared to have been successfully placed in orbit, including the latest in 2016.

International observers have said the satellite seemed to be under control, but there was lingering debate over whether it had sent any transmissions. – Rappler.com

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