North Korea says it will send up its first spy satellite for the military in June.
State news outlet KCNA said on Tuesday that North Korea will launch its first military reconnaissance satellite in June so it can keep an eye on US military actions in real time.
Ri Pyong Chol, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party, said in a statement carried by the KCNA news agency that joint military drills by the United States and South Korea show their “reckless ambition for aggression.”
In the past few months, US and South Korean forces have been training together. Last week, they held what they said were the largest joint live-fire exercises since many drills had to be cut back because of COVID-19 limits and hopes for peace talks with North Korea.
Ri of North Korea said that the drills needed Pyongyang to be able to “gather information about the enemy’s military actions in real time.”
Ri said in the statement, “We will look at all of the threats we face now and in the future, and we will put our plans for strengthening all-around and useful war deterrents into action in a more thorough way.”
Nuclear-armed North Korea says it has finished making its first military spy satellite, and Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader, has given the go-ahead for the last preparations for the launch.
The statement didn’t say exactly when the launch would happen, but it did say that it would happen between May 31 and June 11. North Korea told Japan about the launch, so Tokyo put its ballistic missile defenses on high alert.
A spokesperson for the US State Department said that any North Korean launch that uses ballistic missile technology, even to put a satellite into space, would break several UN resolutions.
Japan said that it would shoot down any missile that came close to its land.
The launch would be the latest in a run of missile launches and weapons tests done by the North. Last month, they tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile that uses solid fuel.
Analysts say that the satellite will improve North Korea’s ability to keep an eye on things, which will help it hit its targets more correctly in a war.