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North Korea Claims To Successfully Launch A Spy Satellite Into Orbit

North Korea claims to successfully launch a spy satellite into orbit on Wednesday, asserting its commitment to further launches as a defensive measure against perceived "dangerous military maneuvers" by its adversaries.

Hilda Workman
Nov 23, 20236796 Shares169899 Views
North Korea claims to successfully launch a spy satellite into orbit on Wednesday, asserting its commitment to further launches as a defensive measure against perceived "dangerous military maneuvers" by its adversaries.
Analysts suggest that the functionality of this spacecraft could notably enhance North Korea's military prowess, potentially granting improved precision in targeting opposing forces. According to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the satellite "Malligyong-1" launched on its orbit at 22:54:13, 705s on Tuesday night using the brand-new carrier rocket "Chollima-1."
The launch of a reconnaissance satellite is the legal right of North Korea to strengthen its right to self-defense.- KCNA
South Korea, the United States, and Japan, all facing escalating military tensions with North Korea, were unable to independently verify the satellite's successful orbit. However, South Korea labeled the launch a "clear violation" of a UN Security Council resolution that explicitly prohibits North Korea from utilizing ballistic missile technology.
On Wednesday morning, the South Korean government took the step of partially suspending an agreement with North Korea that had previously restricted the South's reconnaissance and surveillance activities along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two nations.
The rocket carrying the satellite was launched on a southern trajectory and is suspected to have traversed over Japan's Okinawa prefecture. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida strongly condemned the launch, characterizing it as a "serious situation" impacting the safety of the Japanese people. He reaffirmed his commitment to collaborate with the United States and South Korea to address Pyongyang's ongoing launches.
In a statement on Wednesday, Seoul's military revealed that it had closely monitored the launch preparations in collaboration with the United States.
According to the statement, Aegis destroyers from South Korea, the United States, and Japan were mobilized to monitor the launch, and detailed information about the launch was undergoing thorough analysis. Japanese Defense Minister Hiroyuki Miyazawa stated that Japan was actively working to ascertain whether North Korea's satellite had successfully entered orbit.

Third Satellite Launch Attempt

In late May, Pyongyang made its initial attempt to place a satellite into orbit, but the rocket's second stage malfunctioned, resulting in a crash into the sea. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the failure was attributed to the "low" reliability and stability of the new engine system, coupled with the use of "unstable" fuel.
A subsequent effort in August ended in failure due to an "error in the emergency blasting system during the third-stage flight," as stated in a KCNA report at the time. The rocket disintegrated into multiple fragments, falling into the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean, according to Japanese officials.
Following the second unsuccessful launch, North Korean Ambassador Kim Song delivered a defiant speech to the UN Security Council, asserting that the pursuit of the spy satellite program fell within the country's "legitimate right as a sovereign state." He denied any intention by North Korea to acquire intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology through the satellite launch.
The third attempt on Tuesday night, which had been widely anticipated and indicated by Pyongyang, was followed by a declaration early Wednesday that North Korea intends to conduct further launches.
The National Aerospace Development Administration of North Korea plans to submit a proposal to "secure the capability to reconnoiter the South Korean region... by additionally launching several reconnaissance satellites in a short span of time," as reported by KCNA.
North Korea asserts that having a satellite is a legitimate self-defense measure against what it perceives as a series of provocations by the United States, South Korea, and Japan.
Earlier this week, North Korea criticized the United States for its potential sale of advanced missiles to Japan and military equipment to South Korea, labeling it "a dangerous act" in a report from KCNA. North Korea claimed it was "obvious" who the offensive military equipment would be aimed at and used against.
North Korean Kim Jong Un celebrates with the satellite launch team
North Korean Kim Jong Un celebrates with the satellite launch team

A Military Boost For Pyongyang

According to analysts, the mere presence of a single satellite in orbit significantly enhances North Korea's military stance.
"If it works it will improve the North Korean military's command, control, and communications or intelligence and surveillance capabilities. That would improve the North's ability to command its forces" in any possible conflict, said Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command's Joint Intelligence Center.
The satellite will give them a capability that they previously used to lack that can assist them in military targeting, it can assist them in damage assessment.- Ankit Panda, a nuclear policy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Insights gained from Tuesday's launch will be applied in the development of upcoming satellites, as stated by Panda.
"They're going to take what they learn with this successful launch and apply it to additional launches. They will look to have a resilient, redundant constellation of Earth observation satellites and that will make a pretty big difference for (North Korea’s) overall strategic situational awareness capabilities," he said.
However, some experts cautioned that the true capabilities of what North Korea launched late Tuesday are yet to be determined. Certain analysts suggested that the North might have more at risk with the South's revival of intelligence gathering along the border than it stands to gain from the satellite launch.
The surveillance drone operations Seoul may soon commence along the DMZ should produce more useful intelligence than North Korea’s rudimentary satellite program.- Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul

Any Russian Connection?

South Korea's Defense Minister Shin Won-sik stated last Sunday that North Korea was thought to have "almost resolved" its rocket engine issues, presumably with assistance from Russia. This announcement followed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's visit to Russia in September, during which he toured a Russian space rocket launch site alongside President Vladimir Putin.
In the meeting, Putin indicated a willingness to support North Korea in advancing its space and satellite program. However, Panda warned against making assumptions that aid and advice from Russia played a decisive role in the success of the third launch.
It would seem unlikely to me given the timeline here that the North Koreans have already received and implemented technical assistance from Russia. Let's also bear in mind that the North Koreans themselves are remarkably capable at this point.- Vladimir Putin
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