North Korea announced on Wednesday that it has successfully placed a spy satellite into orbit, marking its third launch attempt this year. The launch is seen as a demonstration of the country’s determination to build a space-based surveillance system amid ongoing tensions with the United States. However, there are doubts about whether the satellite is technologically advanced enough to perform military reconnaissance.
The United States and its partners strongly condemned the launch as it violates UN bans on satellite launches by North Korea, which are believed to be covers for missile technology tests. The National Aerospace Technology Administration of North Korea called the launch a legitimate right to bolster their self-defense capabilities and improve their war preparedness against “the enemies’ dangerous military moves.” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch and praised the scientists involved.
The launch drew condemnation from the United States, with the National Security Council spokesperson stating that it raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region. South Korea also expressed readiness to repel any provocations by North Korea in alliance with the United States. The Japanese Prime Minister called the launch “a serious threat” and lodged a protest with North Korea.
A spy satellite is a key military asset desired by Kim Jong Un, who seeks to modernize North Korea’s weapons systems to counter what he perceives as escalating threats from the United States. North Korea had attempted to launch a spy satellite twice earlier this year, but both attempts failed due to technical issues. South Korean officials speculate that the delay in this launch occurred because North Korea received technological assistance from Russia.
There have been reports of a potential arms transfer deal between North Korea and Russia, with North Korea supplying conventional arms in return for help with enhancing its nuclear and military programs. However, both countries deny these allegations. If North Korea succeeds in launching a military reconnaissance satellite, it could indicate that its long-range missile capabilities have advanced. South Korea has expressed the need for reinforced countermeasures in response.