North Korea has claimed to have successfully launched a spy satellite into orbit, although independent verification is yet to be established. The United States and its allies have condemned the launch as it violates UN bans on satellite launches by the country, which are believed to serve as covers for missile technology tests. The National Aerospace Technology Administration of North Korea stated that the launch was a legitimate right for the country to improve its self-defence capabilities. The agency said that the spy satellite, named Malligyong-1, would enhance the North’s war preparedness. The launch was overseen by leader Kim Jong Un, who congratulated the scientists involved. North Korea plans to launch several more spy satellites to better monitor South Korea and other areas.
The United States strongly condemned the launch, stating it raises tensions and risks destabilizing the region’s security situation. The US National Security Council spokesperson highlighted that the launch is related to North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile program. South Korea’s military expressed readiness to repel any provocations by North Korea through its alliance with the United States. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also called the launch a serious threat and lodged a protest with North Korea.
It is believed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un desires spy satellites to modernize the country’s weapons systems in response to what he perceives as escalating US threats. North Korea previously attempted two satellite launches earlier this year, both of which ended in failure due to technical issues. Speculation suggests that the launch delay occurred as North Korea sought Russian technological assistance. In September, Kim traveled to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin, leading to speculation of a potential weapons deal between the countries.
North Korea’s alleged deal reportedly involves supplying conventional arms to Russia, which seeks assistance from North Korea in enhancing its military programs in return. The White House claimed that North Korea has delivered over 1,000 containers of military equipment and munitions to Russia. South Korea’s defense minister stated that approximately 3,000 containers had been sent. North Korea has expressed a need for spy satellites to monitor South Korean and US activities, potentially as part of efforts to develop more powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles. South Korea’s President has emphasized the need for reinforced countermeasures if North Korea successfully launches a military reconnaissance satellite.