North Korea’s reconnaissance satellite operation office has been officially designated as a military intelligence organization, according to state news agency KCNA. The office, located at the Pyongyang General Control Centre of the National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA), commenced its mission on Saturday. It is responsible for collecting intelligence and will report acquired information to the reconnaissance bureau at the army and other major units, KCNA reported.
On November 21, North Korea claimed to have successfully launched its first military spy satellite, which supposedly transmitted images of the White House, the Pentagon, U.S. military bases, and “target regions” in South Korea. However, Pyongyang has not released any actual imagery captured by the satellite, leading to debate about its actual capabilities among analysts and foreign governments.
In a separate article, an unidentified North Korean military commentator, as reported by KCNA on Sunday, blamed the breakdown of the military confidence-building agreement on South Korea. North Korea justifies its spy satellite launch as a common practice among other countries. The article also criticized South Korea’s own recent military reconnaissance launch, calling it self-contradictory.
South Korea, on the other hand, recently launched its first spy satellite into orbit from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base, utilizing a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The country has contracted with the American company to launch a total of five spy satellites by 2025, with the aim of increasing surveillance over the Korean peninsula.
Following Seoul’s suspension of a 2018 military accord between the two Koreas in protest of North Korea’s spy satellite launch, the latter announced plans to deploy stronger armed forces and new weapons on its border with the South last month.
For more information, contact Jihoon Lee in Seoul; edited by Jonathan Oatis.
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