North Korea announced that it has successfully placed its first spy satellite in orbit and expressed its intention to launch more satellites in the future, despite strong opposition from the United States and its allies. The rocket carrying the satellite took off from North Pyongan province on Tuesday night and followed its predetermined trajectory, ultimately placing the reconnaissance satellite called ‘Malligyong-1’ in its intended orbit, according to the state-run news agency KCNA. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was present at the launch and commended the scientists and technicians involved in the mission.
The United States swiftly condemned the launch as a brazen violation of UN sanctions, expressing concerns that it could destabilize the region. South Korean officials believe that the latest launch likely received technical assistance from Russia, as part of an emerging partnership between the two countries, which has previously involved North Korea supplying artillery shells to Russia. Both Russia and North Korea have denied any arms deals and have publicly pledged to deepen their cooperation.
Following the launch, South Korea announced its plans to resume surveillance operations along its border with North Korea. These operations were suspended in 2018 as part of an agreement with Pyongyang aimed at reducing military tensions. North Korea’s previous attempts to launch spy satellites in May and August failed.
Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington had repeatedly warned North Korea against proceeding with another launch, as it would violate multiple UN resolutions. The timing of North Korea’s launch comes just a week before South Korea’s scheduled launch of its own spy satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket operated by US company SpaceX. North Korea’s space agency has declared its intention to launch multiple spy satellites in the near future to enhance its surveillance capabilities over South Korea and other regions of interest.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida strongly condemned the launch, stating that the use of ballistic missile technology for satellite launches clearly violates relevant UN resolutions. Japan initially issued emergency warnings to residents in Okinawa, advising them to seek shelter, but later confirmed that the rocket had flown over and past Okinawa towards the Pacific Ocean.