North Korea: We Launched Our First Spy Satellite

Kim Jong Un achieves a long-sought goal after two previous attempts failed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 21, 2023 12:25 PM CST
North Korea: We Launched First Spy Satellite
A visitor looks at North Korea from the unification observatory in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

North Korea claimed to have successfully placed a spy satellite into orbit with its third launch attempt this year, demonstrating the nation's determination to build a space-based surveillance system during protracted tensions with the United States. The North's claim could not immediately be independently confirmed, per the AP. However, the launch was certain to invite strong condemnation from the United States and its partners because the UN bans North Korea from conducting satellite launches, calling them covers for tests of missile technology.

The North's space authorities said in a statement Wednesday morning (local time) that its space launch vehicle placed the Malligyong-1 satellite into orbit on Tuesday night following liftoff from the country's main launch center. The statement said leader Kim Jong Un observed the launch. A spy satellite is among the key military assets coveted by Kim, who wants to modernize his weapons systems to cope with what he calls escalating US threats. North Korea attempted to launch a spy satellite twice earlier this year, but both launches ended in failure due to technical issues.

"Even if North Korea calls it a satellite, the firing that uses ballistic missile technology is a clear violation to related United Nations Security Council resolutions," Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. "It is also a serious threat that affects the safety of the people." North Korea had vowed a third launch would take place sometime in October, but it didn't follow through or give a reason for not following that launch plan. South Korean officials have said the delay occurred likely because North Korea was receiving Russian technological assistance for its spy satellite launch program.

(More North Korea stories.)

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