Kim Jong-un has celebrated the successful launch of a spy satellite, calling it a self-defense breakthrough for Pyongyang.
The North Korean state media reported that the Malligyong-1 satellite was launched on Tuesday night from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station and entered orbit about 12 minutes later. Kim Jong-un oversaw the launch and inspected photos taken by the satellite of “major target regions”, including the South Korean capital of Seoul and cities that host U.S. military bases.
North Korea claimed that the launch was part of its legitimate right to develop military satellites and that it would send up more spy satellites in the near future to secure surveillance capabilities over its enemies. Pyongyang said the satellite was a key component of its self-reliant defense strategy and that it would enhance its deterrence against the “hostile forces” that threaten its sovereignty and security.
Analysts said the launch was a significant achievement for North Korea, which had failed twice this year to put a spy satellite into orbit. They said the launch demonstrated North Korea’s technological advancement and its determination to pursue its nuclear and missile programs despite international sanctions and pressure. They also warned that the launch could escalate the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and trigger a new arms race in the region.