North Korea to launch military spy satellite soon, says Kim Jong Un’s sister

Kim Yo Jong

1st June 2023 – (Seoul) North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, has announced that the country will soon put a military spy satellite into orbit, according to state media outlet KCNA. This announcement comes just a day after North Korea’s failed attempt to launch its first spy satellite. Kim Yo Jong, a powerful ruling party official, rejected condemnation of the launch by Washington and other countries as an infringement of its sovereign right to space development.

“It is certain that (North Korea’s) military reconnaissance satellite will be correctly put on space orbit in the near future and start its mission,” Kim Yo Jong said in an English-language statement carried by KCNA.

South Korea detected debris that splashed down off its west coast after the failed launch and has begun a salvage operation to study the new rocket. The country’s Defence Minister Lee Jong-sup told parliament that the part found appears to be the second stage of the rocket, and search operations are ongoing to find the third stage and payload. A large, heavy object remains submerged and will require time and specialised equipment to raise it.

It is not clear when North Korea might try another launch, and it may take weeks or more to resolve the problems that caused the rocket’s failure, according to a South Korean lawmaker citing the intelligence agency.

KCNA published images of what it said was the new rocket lifting off from a coastal launch pad. The white-and-grey rocket had a bulbous nose, apparently for carrying a satellite or other cargo. Ankit Panda of the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace confirmed that the rocket is a new design, and the launch used the new coastal launch pad built at Tongchang-ri. US-based monitors, including 38 North and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, reported significant activity at the main pad after the launch.