The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Thursday that Pyongyang will “properly” place a spy satellite into orbit soon, a day after their first attempt crashed.
Pyongyang has touted its military satellite as a necessary counterweight to the growing US military presence in the region, citing Washington’s ongoing joint drills with Seoul as one example among many.
North Korea’s new Chollima-1 rocket lost thrust and plunged into the sea with its satellite payload on Wednesday, state media said in a rare announcement the same day after the failed launch.
Kim Yo Jong, who is also the regime’s spokesperson, said a second attempt would be made soon.
“It is certain that the DPRK’s military reconnaissance satellite will be successfully put into space orbit in the near future and begin its mission,” she said Thursday, referring to North Korea by its official name.
Pyongyang also released photographs of what it said was the new Chollima-1 rocket lifting off from a seaside launch site surrounded by flames and smoke.
The rocket – named after a mythical winged horse that often appears in Pyongyang propaganda – featured a bulbous nose, apparently used to carry the satellite’s payload.
The United States, South Korea and Japan criticized the launch, saying it violated UN resolutions banning Pyongyang from testing using ballistic missile technology.
Kim Yo Jong said such criticism was a “self-contradiction”, given that the United States and other nations have already launched “thousands of satellites”.
“The United States is a group of gangsters who would claim that even if the DPRK launches a satellite into space orbit by balloon, it is illegal and threatening,” she said in a statement released by the Central Intelligence Agency. Korean press.
Analysts warn that if North Korea is successful, the satellite’s surveillance capabilities would be a major problem, allowing Pyongyang to more accurately target US and South Korean forces.
“The use of a satellite for military purposes includes reconnaissance (intelligence gathering), global positioning information and attacking the opponent’s satellites. Space warfare,” Chun In told AFP. -bum, a retired general in the South Korean army.
Since diplomatic efforts failed in 2019, North Korea has accelerated its military development, carrying out a series of tests of banned weapons, including testing several intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Leader Kim declared his country an irreversible nuclear power last year and called for an exponential increase in the production of weapons, including tactical nuclear weapons.