North Korea announced on Wednesday that it had successfully launched a military spy satellite into orbit, marking its first successful attempt after two previous failures. The satellite, named ‘Malligyong-1’, was launched from North Phyongan province and accurately placed in its designated orbit. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un personally witnessed the launch and praised the scientists and technicians behind the mission.
However, the international community, led by the United States, condemned the launch as a violation of UN sanctions and expressed concerns about destabilization in the region. In response, South Korea announced that it would resume surveillance operations along the border with North Korea, which had been suspended since 2018 as part of an agreement to reduce military tensions.
This launch comes after North Korea’s previous attempts to put a spy satellite into orbit in May and August ended in failure. Experts note that although space launch rockets and ballistic missiles share technological similarities, there are differences in their intended purposes. North Korea is prohibited by UN resolutions from conducting tests involving ballistic technology.
It is believed that North Korea received technical advice from Russia for this satellite launch, possibly in exchange for weapons shipments to support Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. North Korea stated that the launch of a reconnaissance satellite is its legitimate right to strengthen its defensive capabilities against perceived threats from South Korea and the United States.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff are currently analyzing the launch to confirm whether the satellite was successfully placed in orbit. Seoul had been warning for weeks that North Korea was preparing for another launch and promised to take necessary measures in response.
A successful spy satellite launch would significantly enhance North Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, especially regarding South Korea. It would provide crucial data in the event of a military conflict. As tensions rise, South Korea, the United States, and Japan have increased their defense cooperation, while the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, arrived at South Korea’s Busan Naval Base on Tuesday.