Kim says North Korea’s 1st spy satellite is ready for launch


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country has built its first-ever military spy satellite and that he planned to launch it on an undisclosed date, state media reported Wednesday.
Previous missile and rocket tests have demonstrated that North Korea can send satellites into space, but many experts question whether it has cameras sophisticated enough to use for spying from a satellite because only low-resolution images were released after past test launches.
During his visit to the country’s aerospace agency Tuesday, Kim said that having an operational military reconnaissance satellite is crucial for North Korea to effectively use its nuclear-capable missiles. Kim cited what he described as serious security threats posed by “the most hostile rhetoric and explicit action” by the United States and South Korea this year, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.He likely hopes to pressure his rivals on issues including joint military drills and international economic sanctions on North Korea.
Kim said “the military reconnaissance satellite No 1” had already been built and ordered officials to speed up preparations for its launch.
He said North Korea must launch several satellites to establish an intelligence-gathering capability, KCNA said North Korea has said its ongoing run of weapons tests, including its first test-launch of a solid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missile designed to strike the US mainland last week, are a response to joint military exercises between the United States and its regional allies South Korea and Japan.
North Korea has carried out about 100 missile tests since the start of last year, including about 30 this year. The US and South Korean militaries have been expanding combined drills in response to North Korea’s growing nuclear threats.
This week, the allies launched a 12-day aerial exercise involving some 110 warplanes and staged a one-day naval missile defense exercise with Japan.