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Updated December 31st, 2023 at 15:34 IST

Kim Jong Un's New Year resolution? N Korea eyes 3 new spy satellite launches in 2024

Kim Jong-un announced plans to launch three more spy satellites in 2024, following the nation’s successful satellite launch last November.

Digital Desk
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un | Image:AP
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Pyongyang: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has revealed plans to launch three new spy satellites next year, following the successful launch of the country's first military reconnaissance satellite last month, as reported on Sunday, December 31. This initiative was revealed during the conclusion of a five-day plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, as reported by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The announcement highlights North Korea's intention to expand its space development sector. Kim Jong-un underlined the success of deploying the first spy satellite in 2023 and outlined the objective to launch three more in 2024. "Based on the experience of successfully launching and operating the first spy satellite in 2023 in the space development sector, the task of launching three more spy satellites in 2024 was unveiled, and all-out measures to spur the development of space science technology were discussed," stated ANI, quoting a news agency in its report.

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According to sources, November witnessed North Korea's achievement in placing a military spy satellite, Malligyong-1, into orbit after experiencing setbacks in May and August with earlier attempts. However, media reports speculate about possible technical support from Russia in exchange for arms supplies amid Moscow's conflict in Ukraine.

Addressing the nation's defence priorities, Kim Jong-un spoke about the need for readiness in the face of potential nuclear crises. He reportedly urged the mobilisation of all resources, including nuclear force, to expedite preparations for potential events, asserting control over the entire territory of South Korea as a top-most objective.

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North Korea issues directives to strengthen its military capabilities

Furthermore, Kim Jong-un highlighted the augmentation of the country's nuclear arsenal as the top policy priority for the coming year. He issued directives to the Navy to increase military capabilities and highlighted the development of potent unmanned armed aerial vehicles and electronic warfare mechanisms to accomplish critical defence projects.

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Discussing inter-Korean relations, Kim Jong-un declared a shift in perspective, stating that South Korea would no longer be regarded as a counterpart for reconciliation and unification. He highlighted Seoul's classification of North Korea as a primary adversary, leading the Workers' Party to conclude that unification with South Korea is an ‘unattainable goal.’

According to a Reuters report, expressing dissatisfaction with the current state of inter-Korean relations, Kim Jong-un characterised them as that of "two hostile countries" or “countries engaged in a state of combat.”

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Throughout the year, tensions between South and North Korea escalated, with the latter focusing on advancing its nuclear and missile programs, including the launch of solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Kim's persisting nuclear threats 

Kim Jong-un reiterated a stance of strength against the United States in 2024, criticising the deployment of strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula and military exercises with Seoul. He warned of action backed by nuclear deterrence if the US and South Korea pursued military confrontations.

Last year, North Korea made constitutional amendments solidifying its dictator's intent to strengthen its nuclear force. Additionally, a new nuclear law was enacted, authorizing the preemptive use of nuclear arms and solidifying its status as a nuclear state.

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The upcoming year is anticipated to witness further military advancements in North Korea, including bolstering nuclear and missile forces, expanding the submarine fleet, developing electronic warfare capabilities, and advancing unmanned drone technology, as per Kim’s own statement quoted by Reuters in a recent report.

This move is part of North Korea's broader strategy to enhance its military capabilities in the region. The successful satellite launch in November, after previous failed attempts, heightened regional tensions and triggered additional sanctions from the US, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. Pyongyang has not yet released imagery from the new satellite, leaving analysts and foreign governments speculating about its capabilities. Moreover, there have also been discussions regarding the potential role of Russian assistance in the success of North Korea's recent space mission.

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Published December 31st, 2023 at 15:29 IST

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