North Korean leader’s sister promises second attempt to launch spy satellite, criticizes UN meeting

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed again on Sunday to push for a second attempt to launch a spy satellite as she slammed a Security Council meeting of the United Nations on the first failed launch from the North.

The North’s attempt to put its first military spy satellite into orbit last Wednesday failed when its rocket crashed off the west coast of the Korean peninsula. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was still called at the request of the United States, Japan and other countries to discuss the launch because it had violated Council resolutions banning the North from perform any launch using ballistic technology.

On Sunday, Kim’s sister and senior ruling party official Kim Yo Jong called the UN council “a political appendage” to the United States, saying its recent meeting was convened following a an American “gangster request”.

She accused the UN council of being “discriminatory and rude” because it only challenges satellite launches from the North when thousands of satellites launched by other countries are already operating in space. She said her country’s attempt to acquire a spy satellite is a legitimate step in responding to military threats posed by the United States and its allies.

“(North Korea) will continue to take proactive measures to exercise all legitimate rights of a sovereign state, including the right to launch a military reconnaissance satellite,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement carried by state media. .

In his earlier statement on Friday, Kim Yo Jong said the North’s spy satellite “will be successfully launched into space orbit in the near future,” but did not specify when its second launch attempt would take place.

South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers on Wednesday it would likely take “more than several weeks” for North Korea to learn the cause of the failed launch, but it may attempt a second launch soon if defects are not serious.

A military surveillance satellite is among a list of sophisticated weapons systems that Kim Jong Un has pledged to acquire amid protracted security tensions with the United States. Since the start of 2022, Kim has conducted more than 100 missile tests in what he called a warning of extensive military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

Experts say Kim would like to use his modernized arsenal of weapons to wrest concessions from Washington and its partners in future diplomacy.

North Korea has been hit with rounds of UN sanctions over its previous nuclear and missile tests and satellite launches. But the UN Security Council has not tightened those sanctions against North Korea’s recent testing activities because China and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Council, have blocked attempts. of the United States and others in this sense. At the latest UN Council session on Friday, China and Russia again clashed with the United States over the failure of the North’s launch.

After repeated failures, North Korea placed Earth observation satellites into orbit in 2012 and 2016, but foreign experts say there is no evidence that either satellite transmitted images and other data.

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