North Korea’s Warning Over Spy Satellite Launch

By Johnny Mar29,2024 #North Korea #Satellite

South Korea has warned that North Korea is preparing to launch a new satellite as the race to deploy reconnaissance satellites between the two Koreas heats up.

“While there are activities preparing for an additional military satellite launch by North Korea, there are no signs as of now of an imminent [launch],” South Korean Colonel Lee Sung-jun, spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in a briefing, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap News on Thursday.

Lee further mentioned that South Korean and U.S. intelligence agencies are closely monitoring North Korea’s military movements without sharing specifics.

The focus on North Korea’s potential launch comes as new activity showing preparations at Sohae Satellite Launching Station was captured on satellite imagery.

Tensions have escalated on the Korean Peninsula as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has moved away from the previous consensus to seek reconciliation with the southern neighbor.

North Korea's Sohae Satellite Launch Site
North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket is being prepared for takeoff at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station northwest of Pyongyang on April 8, 2012, in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province, North Korea. South Korean military officials have…Lee Hee-Young/Getty Images News/iStock

This renewed focus comes after Pyongyang’s deployment of its first military reconnaissance satellite in orbit last November following two unsuccessful attempts earlier in the year.

The launch, which was part of North Korea’s plan to deploy three additional spy satellites within the year, has drawn criticism from Washington and Seoul.

The United States and South Korea have denounced the action as a breach of the United Nations Security Council resolutions aimed at limiting North Korea’s ballistic missile endeavors.

“Commercial satellite imagery shows an expanse of blue material on North Korea’s coastal launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, the site used to conduct the last three satellite launch attempts,” 38North, a publication specializing in North Korean affairs, reported Monday.

The 38North report mentioned the sighting of extensive blue material, possibly tarpaulin, arranged in a “Y” shape across a 125-meter stretch of tarmac. The setup suggests preparations for launch, mirroring the arrangements observed during previous launch attempts.

Last December, South Korea launched its first spy satellite from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The new satellite successfully transmitted images of central Pyongyang earlier this month.

Meanwhile, experts have confirmed that North Korea’s first satellite is operational.

Space analysts have recently observed orbital adjustments to the North’s first spy satellite, Malligyong-1, indicating effective control, though the satellite’s operational capabilities remain undisclosed.

North Korea’s state media boasted that the satellite had captured images of strategic military and political locations in South Korea, the U.S., and beyond, although the claims remain unverified by independent sources, Reuters reported in February.

“But now we can definitely say the satellite is alive,” Marco Langbroek, a satellite expert at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, wrote in a blog post, Reuters reported.

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