Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, has ordered the launch of a military spy satellite, which could allow the country to enhance its nuclear program and monitor the US and its allies. North Korea expects the satellite to play a crucial role in bolstering its defence capabilities, sovereignty, and legitimate right to self-defence. Kim made these remarks during his visit to the National Space Development Agency (NSDA), where he called for launching the country’s first military reconnaissance satellite within a specified time frame.
Officials from the Reconnaissance General Bureau accompanied Kim during the visit. The US and other countries have accused the Bureau of covert operations and illegal financial activities. Kim emphasised that North Korea must be prepared to face military threats and challenges from the US and South Korea.
Although North Korea cannot conduct ballistic missile tests under the United Nations Security Council resolutions, Pyongyang claims it has the right to operate a civilian space program for satellite launches. North Korea’s ability to construct ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads has improved over the years. Possessing a military satellite adds to South Korea’s and US’ security concerns that it has ratcheted up tensions to levels not seen in years.
Recent tests of new weapons for nuclear strikes, such as a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile launched for the first time this month, could be quickly deployed to target the US. Additionally, new missile systems have been developed to hit US troops stationed in South Korea and Japan.
Meanwhile, South Korea will launch its home-grown Nuri rocket next month to advance its civilian space program.