• Reuters

North Korea’s Kim Inspects New Spy Satellite Photos of ‘Target Regions’

KCNA via REUTERS
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un meets with members of the Non-Standing Satellite Launch Preparation Committee, in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency on November 24, 2023.

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected photos taken by the country’s new spy satellite of “major target regions,” including the South Korean capital of Seoul and cities that host U.S. military bases, state media said on Saturday.

Nuclear-armed North Korea launched the satellite on Tuesday, but South Korean defense officials and analysts said its capabilities have not been independently verified.

Kim examined the photos, as well as images of some areas within North Korea, during a visit on Friday to the control center of the National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA) in Pyongyang, state news agency KCNA said.

The photos were taken as the satellite passed over the peninsula on Friday morning, KCNA said, and included images of Seoul, and Mokpo, Kunsan, Pyeongtaek and Osan, where U.S. and South Korean military bases are located.

“The NATA reported to Kim Jong Un on the plan for photographing the region of South Korean puppets and the additional fine-tuning process of the reconnaissance satellite,” it said, adding that the process would continue on Saturday.

In a separate commentary carried by KCNA on Saturday, North Korea criticized the United States for providing advanced weapons to its “puppets,” saying that even a small spark on the Korean peninsula would result in a global nuclear war.

“The United States had better ponder over the catastrophic consequences entailed by the arms offer to the puppet forces,” it said.

Top diplomats of Japan, South Korea and the United States spoke on Friday and “strongly condemned the (Nov. 21) launch for its destabilizing effect on the region,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Earlier this week KCNA said Kim viewed images taken above the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam of U.S. military installations.

On Thursday, South Korean Defence Minister Shin Won-sik said North Korea had “exaggerated” by saying Kim had already viewed images of Guam.

“Even if it enters normal orbit, it takes a considerable time to carry out normal reconnaissance,” Yonhap quoted him as saying at the time.