North Korea is preparing to launch a satellite, a Seoul newspaper said Tuesday, as outside observers warn that the nuclear-armed regime’s space program is a fig leaf for weapons tests.
“Through various channels, we’ve recently learned that the North has completed a new satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-5”, the Joongang Ilbo daily reported, quoting a South Korean government source.
“Their plan is to put a satellite equipped with cameras and telecommunication devices into orbit”, he said.
Pyongyang launched their Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite in February 2016, which most in the international community viewed as a disguised ballistic missile test.
A spokesman for the South Korean military joint chiefs of staff said there was “nothing out of ordinary at this moment” but added that Seoul was watching out for any provocative acts “including the test of a long-range missile disguised as a satellite launch”.
The report came as the North’s ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reasserted the regime’s right to launch satellites and develop its space technology.
In a commentary published on Monday and titled “peaceful space programs are sovereign countries’ legitimate rights”, the daily said Pyongyang’s satellite launches “absolutely correspond” with international laws concerning space development.