Seoul, South Korea:
The office that operates North Korea’s newly launched spy satellite is run as a military intelligence organization, state media said on Sunday.
Pyongyang successfully launched a military spy satellite into orbit last month and has since claimed it is providing images of key U.S. and South Korean military sites.
It has not yet released any of the satellite images it claims to have, but warned on Saturday that any attack on its space facility would be viewed as a “declaration of war.”
The official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Sunday that the newly established Reconnaissance Satellite Operations Office began its mission on December 2 and will operate as an “independent military intelligence organization.”
The office will report its obtained information to the Army Reconnaissance Bureau and other major units, KCNA added.
The report said that North Korea’s Defense Ministry expressed war deterrence and would “adopt a more perfect military posture.”
North Korea is barred from testing ballistic technology by successive U.N. resolutions, and analysts say there is significant technological overlap between space launch capabilities and ballistic missile development.
Experts said deploying a functional reconnaissance satellite in orbit would improve North Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly about South Korea, and provide vital data in any military conflict.
The North’s launch of Malligyong-1 was Pyongyang’s third attempt to put such a satellite into orbit, following two previous failures.
Seoul said the North received technical assistance from Moscow and in return supplied weapons for Russia’s war with Ukraine.
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