The White House has strongly condemned North Korea’s recent space launch, calling it a “brazen violation” of UN sanctions that could potentially destabilize the region. National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson stated that the launch raises tensions and poses a risk to the security situation in the region and beyond.
North Korean state media reported that the country successfully put a reconnaissance satellite, named Malligyong-1, into orbit. The rocket carrying the satellite was launched from North Pyongan province and accurately placed the satellite in its designated orbit, according to state-run news agency KCNA.
Watson emphasized that the launch involved technologies directly related to North Korea’s ballistic missile program, which is prohibited by multiple UN Security Council resolutions. The statement from the White House called for Pyongyang to immediately cease its provocative actions and choose engagement instead.
South Korea joined the United States in condemning the launch, with Seoul announcing that it would resume surveillance operations along the border with North Korea that had been suspended in 2018 as part of a previous agreement to reduce military tensions.
This is not the first attempt by North Korea to put a spy satellite into orbit. Previous efforts in May and August of this year were unsuccessful. Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington had repeatedly warned against another launch, as it would violate UN resolutions.
Experts note that space launch rockets and ballistic missiles have significant technological overlap but different payloads. Pyongyang is specifically prohibited from conducting tests involving ballistic technology by UN resolutions.
South Korea’s spy agency has suggested that North Korea received technical advice from Russia in exchange for weapons shipments for Moscow’s war in Ukraine. KCNA defended the launch as a legitimate right of North Korea to strengthen its self-defensive capabilities against perceived threats from South Korea and the United States.
The North reportedly plans to launch more satellites in the near future to enhance its surveillance capabilities on South Korea. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that they are analyzing the launch and have not confirmed whether the satellite was successfully placed in orbit.
The successful placement of a spy satellite into orbit would significantly improve North Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly regarding South Korea, and provide crucial data in any potential military conflict.
North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year, prompting increased defense cooperation between Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo. As a demonstration of this cooperation, a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, arrived at South Korea’s Busan Naval Base on Tuesday.