North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong pledges to enhance military surveillance capabilities after failed satellite launch.
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (AP Photo: Korean Central News Agency)
According to state media KCNA, North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, sister of leader Kim Jong Un, announced that her country will soon launch a military spy satellite into orbit. She also pledged to strengthen Pyongyang’s military surveillance capabilities.
In an English-language statement, Kim expressed confidence that the reconnaissance satellite will be successfully deployed in the near future to commence its mission.
Following the unsuccessful launch of a North Korean satellite on Wednesday, Kim Yo Jong’s remarks were made in response to the incident. A South Korean lawmaker, citing the South’s intelligence agency, stated that it could take weeks or longer to address the problems that led to the rocket’s failure.
KCNA, in a rare acknowledgment of a setback, reported that the Chollima-1 rocket, carrying the “Malligyong-1” military reconnaissance satellite, crashed into the sea due to an accident.
Additionally, KCNA released images on Thursday showing a new rocket with a distinctive white-and-gray design, equipped with a bulbous nose likely intended for satellite or cargo deployment.
The release of photos confirmed the new design of the rocket, as noted by Ankit Panda of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
He mentioned that the launch utilized the newly constructed coastal launch pad in Tongchang-ri, suggesting the possibility of future launches with larger space launch vehicles employing the traditional gantry, which has undergone recent modifications.
Commercial satellite imagery analyzed by U.S.-based monitoring organizations, such as 38 North and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, indicated significant activity at the main launch pad following Wednesday’s failed launch.
The launch received widespread criticism from countries including South Korea, Japan, and the United States. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that any launch by Pyongyang using ballistic missile technology would violate Security Council resolutions.
In her statement, Kim Yo Jong responded to the criticism by referring to it as a “self-contradiction,” highlighting those other countries, including the United States, have launched numerous satellites.
She criticized the United States, referring to it as a “group of gangsters” that labels North Korea’s satellite launches as illegal and threatening.
In a separate statement reported by KCNA, North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Kim Son Gyong, criticized the U.S.-led military exercises in the region, including a multinational anti-proliferation naval drill.