Late on the evening of the 21st November, North Korea claims the Malligyong-1 satellite was successfully and “accurately” launched into orbit. The White House has called it a “brazen violation” of UN resolutions, and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has “in the strongest terms” followed the US’s condemnation of the launch.
South Korea has confirmed that the launch itself was successful, but that it is still too early to determine if the satellite is correctly functioning as the North claimed. South Korea has since resumed surveillance along the border and is therefore suspending parts of the 2018 deal between the two countries which aimed to lower military tensions.
There have previously been two failed attempts by North Korea earlier this year, in May and August respectively, to achieve this feat. The May attempt caused a false alarm in Seoul, with a Presidential warning being issued in the early hours of the morning to all citizens to prepare to evacuate. The crashed satellite was subsequently confirmed to hold “no military utility”.
There have previously been two failed attempts by North Korea earlier this year, in May and August respectively, to achieve this feat
Following the May launch, Ewha Womans University professor Leif-Eric Easley stated that North Korea “sees itself in a space race”. Upon the second North Korean satellite failure, South Korea also announced plans to launch a spy satellite by the end of this month, the first of five before 2025. With the success this month, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un labelled the launch to have “propelled the country into a new era of space power”.
With this new functioning spy satellite, North Korea would be able to monitor incoming attacks and advance strategic planning. Upon hours of the Malligyong-1’s launch, North Korean media claimed they were able to review images of US military bases in Guam.
With this new functioning spy satellite, North Korea would be able to monitor incoming attacks and advance strategic planning
It is also believed that Russia has aided in the success of this third satellite. The successful launch has followed a trip to Moscow by Kim in September, in which President Vladimir Putin offered help with building the satellites. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that the military ties between Moscow and Pyeongyang were “growing and dangerous” following the visit.
Kim celebrated the success with a visit to North Korea’s National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA) with his daughter, with North Korean media stating that he showed “such paternal love” for the scientists and space program workers.