North Korea has conducted a “significant” test to develop a reconnaissance satellite, state media reported.
Despite international sanctions, Pyongyang conducted a record number of weapons tests in January. The country suspended these launches during the Winter Olympics in Beijing. However, the South Korean military said on Sunday that it had identified the launch of a ballistic missile. South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said the missile may have been launched from a mobile launcher at an acute angle, indicating that it was a medium-range ballistic missile.
But the North’s Korean Central News Agency said a test of “great importance for the development of a reconnaissance satellite” was conducted on Sunday. According to the state news agency, the test made it possible to confirm “the characteristics and accuracy of the operation of the high-resolution imaging system, data transmission and altitude control system.” This includes taking pictures of a specific area on Earth with cameras that will come on board the reconnaissance satellite, the agency said.
In a rare joint statement in New York, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Albania, Brazil, Ireland and Norway denounced a “clear violation” of UN resolutions. Countries have threatened to impose international sanctions on North Korea and urged it to opt for diplomacy.
The development of a military reconnaissance satellite, such as the recently tested hypersonic weapons, is one of the major defense projects announced by leader Kim Jong Un last year. Analysts say the development of a reconnaissance satellite will provide North Korea with a cover for testing banned ICBMs. After all, those long-range missiles have the same technology.
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