North Korea’s Kim Jong Un approves military spy satellite plan
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly inspected the nation’s first military spy satellite and given the go-ahead for its future action plan, according to state media. Kim met with the Non-permanent Satellite Launch Preparatory Committee and viewed the satellite, following his announcement a month ago that the satellite’s construction was completed and ready for launch.
The development of the military reconnaissance satellite was one of the key defence projects outlined by Kim in 2021. In December 2022, North Korea claimed to have carried out an important final-stage test for the satellite, with plans to complete it by April this year. However, experts in South Korea have raised doubts about the results, citing the poor quality of black-and-white images purportedly taken from the satellite, reported Channel News Asia.
Kim accused the United States and South Korea of escalating confrontational moves against North Korea and asserted his country’s right to self-defence. The North Korean leader then approved the future action plan of the preparatory committee, although no specific launch date has been provided.
North Korea declared itself an irreversible nuclear power last year, effectively ending the possibility of denuclearisation talks. Analysts believe that Pyongyang would struggle to conduct satellite reconnaissance without high-tech assistance from Russia or China. Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said…
“Since North Korea’s reconnaissance satellites are an important factor in the event of a nuclear pre-emptive strike, they pose a significant threat to the South.”
In response, Washington and Seoul have increased defence cooperation, conducting joint military exercises with advanced stealth jets and high-profile US strategic assets. North Korea perceives such exercises as rehearsals for invasion and has described them as frantic drills simulating an all-out war against Pyongyang.
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