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North Korea: the Pentagon downplays the relevance of satellite photos of US strategic sites


© Agenzia Nova - Reproduction reserved

The Department of Defense of the United States downplayed Pyongyang's announcement that North Korea's new spy satellite would take photos of US strategic sites such as White House and Pentagon, saying there are “abundant” images of the two government sites already available online. The brigadier general Patrick Ryder, spokesperson for the Department of Defense, specified that the US cannot confirm that the North Korean spy satellite actually took photographs of government and military sites in the US, but confirmed that the satellite is actually in orbit: “We know that it entered orbit. For something to go into orbit, it has to escape Earth's gravity and be able to be maintained in orbit around the Earth,” she said. “So really, it would be up to North Korea to define the parameters of this launch and what they hoped to achieve.” During a press conference, Ryder also reiterated the US's "iron" commitment to the defense of South Korea, in response to the restoration of North Korean border military posts along the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas.

North Korea said yesterday that the military spy satellite the country put into orbit last week took photographs of the White House, the Pentagon and nuclear-powered aircraft carriers anchored at the naval base in Norfolk. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly viewed the photographs in recent days, also obtaining a report on the satellite's operations from the General Control Center of the National Aerospace Technology Administration in Pyongyang, the official news agency reported.Korean Central News Agency” (“Kcna”). According to the news agency, the satellite also took photos of the Newport News Naval Shipyard and a Virginia air force base; four US nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and one British aircraft carrier appear in the satellite shots.

The United Nations Security Council was divided Monday over whether to condemn North Korea's launch of a military spy satellite last week. Since December 2017, the world organization's top security body has failed to take tangible action, such as passing a resolution or declaration of sanctions, in response to the North's use of ballistic missile technology. “(North Korea) is shamelessly trying to develop its nuclear weapons delivery systems,” he said yesterday Linda Thomas Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the United Nations. “Yet, there are two permanent members who have refused to condemn this dangerous launch and others like it,” the US envoy said, apparently referring to Russia and China, which hold veto rights.

The North Korean ambassador Kim Song defended his country's Nov. 21 launch of a carrier rocket to put the spy satellite into orbit, saying the latter was needed by the North "to get a clear view of the serious military movements of the United States and its followers." “This is a legitimate and fair exercise of self-defense rights that fully belongs to the legal sphere of our self-defense,” Kim said. Representatives of Russia and China said frequent military exercises involving the United States, South Korea and Japan near the Korean Peninsula have increased tensions in the region. Kimihiro Ishikane, the Japanese representative to the United Nations, said: “We should not be deceived by any attempt to justify North Korea's ambition to pursue illicit weapons of mass destruction programs.”

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, said the launch of the country's first military spy satellite was an exercise of its right to self-defense. This was reported by North Korean state media, according to which Kim visited the National Aerospace Technology Administration (Nata) last Thursday - the national aerospace research agency, born from a reorganization of the sector carried out last month - to congratulate the scientists and space technicians who made the launch's success possible. The placement of North Korea's first military satellite into Earth orbit was an "eye-opening event" in the face of "dangerous and aggressive" initiatives by hostile forces, Kim said, quoted by the official Korean Central News Agency (" Kcna”). North Korea hosted a reception last week to celebrate the launch, during which Prime Minister Kim Tok Hun said the satellite would make the North Korean military “the best army in the world with the ability to strike anywhere the world".

The satellite, christened Malligyong-1, was launched aboard a “carrier rocket” just before 23pm on Tuesday 21 November, local time, from the Tongchang-ri launch site, and successfully entered the Planned orbit. The launch, which triggered an air raid warning in southern Japan, drew condemnation from the governments of Japan, South Korea and the United States. Pyongyang authorities had previously notified Japan of their intention to launch a satellite into orbit between Wednesday 22 November and Friday 89 December. The launch takes place 24 days after the previous attempt, which failed last August 31 due to a problem with the rocket engine. The first test dates back to May XNUMXst. Seoul had asked Pyongyang not to proceed with a further launch, which it said violates United Nations Security Council resolutions banning North Korea's missile program.

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