North Korea says it will launch 1st military spy satellite in June
30 May, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma
North Korea is preparing to launch its inaugural military surveillance satellite in June, with the intention of monitoring real-time US military activities, according to a senior official.
North Korea is preparing to launch its inaugural military surveillance satellite in June, with the intention of monitoring real-time US military activities, according to a senior official overseeing the North’s military affairs, as reported by Yonhap News Agency. The announcement follows North Korea’s notification to Japan regarding its satellite launch plans between May 31 and June 11.
Ri Pyong-Chol, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK), emphasized in a statement broadcast by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency that the satellite launch is a crucial step in enhancing the country’s preparedness for war. He further stated that North Korea’s forthcoming spy satellite, along with ongoing tests of various reconnaissance tools, are vital for tracking, monitoring, distinguishing, controlling, and proactively responding to the perceived aggressive military actions of the US and South Korea.
Although no specific details were provided, Ri also pledged to expand reconnaissance and information capabilities, as well as enhance defensive and offensive weaponry, while establishing timetables to accomplish their development plans.
North Korea had previously announced its completion of necessary preparations for launching its maiden military surveillance satellite, with approval from Kim Jong-un for the “future action plan.” This commitment to advanced weaponry, including a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, a nuclear-powered submarine, and a military reconnaissance satellite, was made by the North Korean leader at a prominent party congress in 2021, according to Yonhap.
Ri criticized the United States and South Korea for escalating military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, condemning South Korea’s multinational naval exercise aimed at preventing the trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the allies’ largest-ever live-fire drill. Additionally, he voiced disapproval of the United States’ increased “hostile air espionage activities” involving prominent military surveillance aircraft flying over the Yellow Sea in recent times.
Ri affirmed North Korea’s determination to thoroughly consider present and future threats, while intensifying efforts to strengthen comprehensive and practical war deterrents.
South Korea strongly discouraged North Korea’s planned satellite launch on Monday, warning that Pyongyang would face consequences if it proceeded with the launch. The anticipated launch would violate multiple Security Council resolutions due to the satellite’s employment of technology similar to ballistic missiles.
Although skeptics have raised doubts about North Korea’s satellite capabilities, experts argue that a spy satellite would enhance the country’s surveillance power, enabling precise targeting in combat situations.
In December of the previous year, the secretive regime announced the successful completion of an “important, final-stage” test for its spy satellite development. Images taken by the “test satellite” showing black-and-white depictions of South Korean cities from space were released, as reported by Yonhap News Agency.