North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has ordered officials to prepare to launch the country’s first military reconnaissance satellite, North Korean state media KCNA reported on Wednesday.
During his visit to the National Aerospace Development Administration on Tuesday, Kim Jong Un said the country’s military reconnaissance satellite production has been completed and ordered the dispatching of “several reconnaissance satellites,” KCNA reported.
He made the visit alongside his daughter believed to be Ju Ae. She has attended numerous events alongside her father so far this year.
Last December, North Korea claimed it had conducted an “important final stage test” for the development of a spy satellite. The country’s space development agency announced that it would finish preparations for the first military reconnaissance satellite by April 2023.
Despite the North Korea claims, recent satellite images of the country’s space launch center show no signs of an imminent launch, said Dave Schmerler, senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in the United States.
“But North Korea could launch this via a road mobile vehicle. So were all just waiting to see what they do,” Schmerler said.
North Korea’s recent missile launches, including the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile last week, have come from mobile launchers.
On Tuesday, Kim stressed the role of military satellites as to protect national safety and territorial stability in the midst of escalating military threats and challenges by the United States and South Korea. Kim also spoke about the role of satellites and its strategic value when deploying military force preemptively according to the situation, KCNA said.
Kim said the acquisition of military reconnaissance satellites was “indispensable,” calling them a “right to national sovereignty and self-defense.” He cited tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the need for managing “prospective threats,” KCNA reported.
CNN’s Brad Lendon contributed to this report