North Korea has released satellite images of the South Korean cities of Seoul and Incheon that were allegedly shot during the test.
North Korea has carried out a “major final phase” test in the development of a military reconnaissance satellite, which the country plans to complete by April 2023, North Korean state media reported.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Monday that North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration conducted the test on Sunday at the country’s Sohae satellite launch station in Cholsan in North Pyongan province.
A rocket carrying what was described as a “test satellite”, including multiple cameras, image transmitters and receivers, a control device and a storage battery, was launched at an “inclined angle” at an altitude of 500 km (311 miles), according to KCNA.
According to KCNA, the test was designed to check the capabilities of satellite imaging, data transmission and a ground control system.
“We confirmed important technical indicators such as the camera’s operation technology in the space environment, the data processing and transmission capacity of the communication devices, the tracking and control accuracy of the ground control system,” a spokesperson said. Unidentified North Korean aerospace officer in the KCNA office.
North Korea plans to complete “preparations for the first military reconnaissance satellite by April 2023,” the official said in the KCNA report.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Monday that KCNA also released satellite images of the South Korean capital “Seoul and its adjacent city of Incheon reportedly taken from the test satellite.”
🆕 Fair: North Korea says yesterday’s rocket launch was part of its tests for a military reconnaissance satellite. Page 2 of Monday’s Rodong Sinmun shows an image of the launch and a satellite photo of downtown Seoul. (continuation) pic.twitter.com/UUjS8WryX8
—Martyn Williams (@martyn_williams) December 18, 2022
On Sunday, North Korea also fired two medium-range ballistic missiles, which flew about 500 kilometers (311 miles) before plunging into the sea off the country’s east coast. On Friday, Pyongyang announced that it had tested a high-thrust, solid-fuel engine that experts say would facilitate faster and more mobile launches of its ballistic missile arsenal.
At an emergency meeting on Sunday, top South Korean security officials deplored what they described as North Korea’s continued provocations that they said came despite “the plight of its citizens who are moaning with hunger and cold.” due to severe food shortages.
South Korea will respond by boosting trilateral security cooperation with the United States and Japan, according to the South Korean presidential office.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to develop high-tech weaponry, including spy satellites and tactical nuclear weapons, as a means of deterring and providing real-time information on military actions by the United States and its regional allies. South Korea and Japan, which he claims threaten his country.
Pyongyang has tested an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles this year, including a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), dubbed a “monster missile,” in defiance of international sanctions.
On Friday, the Japanese government adopted a national security strategy that would allow it to carry out pre-emptive strikes and double its military spending to take a more offensive stance against threats from China and North Korea.
The strategy marks a significant break from Japan’s post-World War II military stance of strictly self-defense. The Japanese strategy names China as “the biggest strategic challenge,” ahead of North Korea and Russia, for Japan’s efforts to ensure peace, security and stability.
Japan’s Defense Ministry also said on Sunday that it had detected a fleet of five Chinese warships, including an aircraft carrier, off the southern Japanese island of Okidaitojima the previous day. Ministry officials said Chinese fighter jets and helicopters were conducting takeoff and landing exercises on the carrier and Japan responded with fighter jets and sending a destroyer to the area.