North Korea Confirms ‘Important’ Test To Develop Spy Satellite


New Delhi: North Korea on Monday clarified its stance on the reported launch of ballistic missiles saying the country conducted an ‘important, final phase’ test on Sunday for the development of a spy satellite, which it seeks to complete by April 2023.

The test was confirmed by North Korea’s state media KCNA a day after the South Korean and Japanese militaries reported the isolated North’s launch of two intermediate-range ballistic missiles toward its east coast, reported news agency Reuters.

The test has been conducted at its Sohae satellite launching station in the northwestern town of Tongchang-ri in a bid to review the country’s capability of satellite imaging, data transmission, and ground control systems.

A vehicle carrying a mock satellite was fired at the “lofted angle” of 500 km (311 miles), it added.

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The reports of the launch came three days after North Korea said it tested a “high-thrust solid-fuel engine” for a new strategic weapon, a breakthrough that might allow it to have a more mobile, harder-to-detect arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US mainland.

In the last few months, North Korea conducted a series of nuclear-capable ballistic missile tests, including the launch of its longest-range liquid-fueled Hwasong-17 ICBM last month, intended to carry multiple warheads.

Some experts believe North Korea would eventually use an expanded arsenal to seek sanctions relief and other concessions from the United States, according to the Associated Press news agency report.

While some speculate North Korea already has functioning nuclear-tipped missiles that can hit the entire US, given the number of years it has spent on its nuclear program, others say the country is still years away from acquiring such weapons, saying it has yet to publicly prove it has a technology to protect warheads from the harsh conditions of atmospheric reentry.

North Korea has conducted a significant number of missile tests this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) aimed at reaching the US mainland, in defiance of international sanctions.


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