North Korea has successfully placed its first spy satellite into orbit, its space agency says, defying international condemnation from the United States and its allies.
The National Aerospace Technology Administration said the Malligyong-1 satellite was launched from the Sohae satellite launch facility on Tuesday at 10:42 pm (13:42 GMT) and entered orbit at 10:54pm (1:354 GMT), the North Korean state news agency KCNA reported.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
The space agency will send up multiple spy satellites in the near future to secure surveillance capabilities over South Korea and other regions of interest to North Korea’s armed forces, KCNA reported.
Officials in South Korea and Japan, which first reported the launch, said they could not immediately verify whether a satellite was placed in orbit.
North Korea had previously notified Japan that it planned to launch a satellite between November 22 and December 1.
North Korea had tried to launch what it called spy satellites twice this year but failed. South Korean officials said in recent days that it appeared ready to try again soon.
US, Japan condemn launch
The US and its allies strongly condemned North Korea over the launch. The White House called it a “brazen violation” of United Nations resolutions.
The launch “raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond”, US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he condemned the launch “in the strongest possible terms”.
“We have already made a strong protest against North Korea,” he said.
For its part, Pyongyang considers such launches part of a justified effort to build up its capabilities against the armies of the US and its allies and has said that it will develop a fleet of satellites to monitor activities by US and South Korean forces.
On Tuesday, KCNA reported that North Korea has the “sovereign right” to develop military satellites.