North Korea Plans Launch of Three More Spy Satellites in 2024

The announcement was made as Kim Jong-un concluded a five-day plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on Saturday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced plans to launch three additional spy satellites in 2024. The decision comes on the heels of the successful launch of the country’s first military reconnaissance satellite, Malligyong-1, last month.

The announcement was made as Kim Jong-un concluded a five-day plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on Saturday. “Based on the experience of successfully launching and operating the first spy satellite in 2023 in the space development sector, the task of launching three more spy satellites in 2024 was unveiled, and all-out measures to spur the development of space science technology were discussed.”

The recent launch of Malligyong-1 marked a significant achievement for North Korea after two failed attempts earlier in the year. However, there are suspicions that the country may have received technical support from Russia in exchange for arms supplies for Moscow’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Kim Jong-un, emphasizing the need to respond swiftly to potential nuclear crises, declared the top policy priority for the coming year as further boosting the country’s nuclear arsenal. He also ordered the Navy to enhance its military capabilities, with a focus on developing powerful unmanned armed aerial vehicles and means for electronic warfare.

Addressing inter-Korean relations, Kim Jong-un expressed a shift in perspective, stating that he will no longer consider South Korea a counterpart for reconciliation and unification. He indicated that Seoul has declared the North as a main enemy, leading to a conclusion by the Workers’ Party that unification with South Korea is not possible.

Calling for a “fundamental change” in dealing with South Korea, Kim Jong-un characterized the current state of inter-Korean relations as that of “two hostile countries” or “countries engaged in the state of combat.” Relations between the two Koreas remained strained in 2023, with North Korea focusing on advancing its nuclear and missile programs.

Looking ahead to 2024, Kim Jong-un vowed an “offensive and ultra-powerful” stance against the United States, denouncing Washington’s deployment of strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula and military drills with Seoul. He warned that North Korea would not hesitate to take critical action with its nuclear deterrence if faced with military confrontations from the US and South Korea.

Notably, in September 2023, North Korea amended its constitution to enshrine the policy of strengthening its nuclear force. Last year, the country enacted a new nuclear law authorizing the preemptive use of nuclear arms, declaring its status as a nuclear state “irreversible.” Kim Jong-un, in the previous year’s party plenary meeting, had referred to South Korea as an ‘undoubted enemy’ and called for an ‘exponential’ increase in the country’s nuclear arsenal and the development of tactical nuclear weapons.

ctical nuclear weapons.