North Korea Launches Rocket in Defiance of International Regulations, Promoting Military Surveillance Capability

North Korea carried out a rocket launch on Wednesday, following its announcement of a plan to deploy its inaugural military spy satellite into orbit, according to South Korea’s military sources.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff in South Korea have refrained from providing further details regarding the rocket launch. However, in response to the launch, authorities in Seoul promptly issued alerts through public speakers and smartphones, urging residents to prepare for possible evacuation. Fortunately, no damages or disruptions have been reported thus far.

Japan Notified of North Korea’s Satellite Launch Plan

Japan’s coast guard revealed that North Korea had notified them about the intention to launch a satellite between May 31 and June 11. In response, Japan’s defense minister ordered the military to be prepared to intercept the satellite or its debris if it entered Japanese territory.

The launch of a satellite by North Korea is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, which prohibit the country from utilizing ballistic technology under the suspicion of conducting missile tests.

North Korea’s Motives and Capabilities Examined

Ri Pyong Chol, a prominent North Korean official and a close associate of leader Kim Jong Un, emphasized the country’s perceived need for a reliable reconnaissance and information system due to escalating security threats from the United States and its allies. Consequently, North Korea has declared its intention to launch a spy satellite in June. However, experts question whether the disclosed satellite, as presented in state-run media, possesses the sophistication to capture high-resolution imagery. Nevertheless, it is believed to be capable of detecting significant targets such as troop movements, warships, and warplanes.

Recent commercial satellite imagery of North Korea’s primary rocket launch center in the northwest reveals ongoing construction activities, suggesting that North Korea has plans to launch multiple satellites in the near future.

In his statement on Tuesday, Ri highlighted that North Korea intends to test various reconnaissance methods. The country’s surveillance assets are designed to track, monitor, discriminate, control, and respond in advance and in real-time to movements made by the United States and its allies.

North Korea’s Potential to Develop Space-Based Surveillance System

Lee Choon Geun, an honorary research fellow at South Korea’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, suggests that if North Korea were to possess three to five spy satellites, it could establish a space-based surveillance system capable of monitoring the Korean Peninsula with near real-time coverage.

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