North Korea shows Kim Jong-un examining a military spy satellite that could be launched soon

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un examined a finished military spy satellitewhich his country is expected to launch soon, during a visit to its aerospace agency where he described space reconnaissance as crucial to countering the United States and South Korea.
During Tuesday’s visit, Kim approved an unspecified “future plan of action” in preparations for the satellite’s launch, North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency reported on Wednesday. North Korea has not disclosed a target date for the launch, which some analysts say could be in the coming weeks.
This launch would use long-range missile technology prohibited by previous UN Security Council resolutions, although previous missile and rocket tests have demonstrated North Korea’s ability to send a satellite into the space.
There are, however, more questions about the capacity of the satellite. Some South Korean analysts say the satellite shown in North Korean media photos appears too small and crudely designed to support high-resolution images. Photos released by North Korean media of past missile launches were low resolution.
Photos published by the Rodong Sinmun newspaper of Tuesday’s visit showed Kim and her daughter – dressed in white coats – chatting with scientists near an object that looked like the main component of a satellite. The newspaper did not identify the object, which was surrounded by a perimeter of bureaucracy.
KCNA said the satellite was deemed ready to be loaded onto a rocket after scientists examined the assembly of the device and subjected it to tests to confirm whether it would withstand the environment of the space.
The visit was Kim’s first public appearance in about a month, following a previous visit to the aerospace center on April 18 when state media announced the satellite had been built.
Kim said the acquisition of a spy satellite would be crucial to his efforts to bolster the country’s defense as “the US imperialists and (South) Korean puppet villains step up their confrontational moves” against the North, said KCNA.
He was apparently referring to the expansion of joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea and talks by allies about strengthening their nuclear deterrence strategies to deal with threats from North Korea, which has tested a hundred missiles since the beginning of 2022. .
The next step in North Korea’s launch preparationsor the “future action plan” mentioned by state media, could mount the satellite on what would likely be a three-stage space rocket, said Kim Dong-yub, a professor at the University of North Korea Studies. from Seoul.
Depending on how North Korean preparations unfold, the launch could take place as early as mid-June, although Pyongyang could also time the event for major state anniversaries that fall in July, September or October, the professor said.
Recent commercial satellite images show rapid construction activities at North Korea’s northwest rocket launch facility, where the country last carried out a satellite launch in 2016, the site said on Monday. Internet 38 North, focused on North Korea. Activities include construction of the facility’s main satellite launch pad and possible efforts to establish a new launch pad at the edge of the site near the sea, 38 North said in its report.
Spy satellites are among a host of advanced weapon systems that Kim Jong Un has pledged to develop. Others on his wish list include solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-powered submariners, hypersonic missiles and multi-head missiles.
North Korea has tested some of these weapons in recent months, including its first flight test of a solid-fuel ICBM last month, but experts say the North may need more time and technological breakthroughs to make these systems functional.
In response to North Korean plans to launch a military spy satellite, the Japanese military last month ordered troops to activate missile interceptors and prepare to shoot down any fragments of the satellite that may fall on the territory. Japanese.
North Korea placed its first and second Earth observation satellites into orbit in 2012 and 2016, but foreign experts say neither transmitted images to North Korea. The UN Security Council has issued sanctions for these launches.
North Korea avoided further Security Council sanctions for its recent ballistic tests in 2022 and this year as Moscow and Beijing continue to block US-led efforts to increase pressure on Pyongyang, highlighting a rift between the permanent members of the council which has widened over the years. Russia’s war against Ukraine.


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