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North Korea’s Kim vows never to give up space reconnaissance project

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Academy of Defence Sciences in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this image released by the Korean Central News Agency May 29, 2024.    KCNA via REUTERS    ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Academy of Defence Sciences in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this image released by the Korean Central News Agency May 29, 2024. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.

SEOUL >> North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said space reconnaissance capabilities are crucial for national self defense against enemy threats and the country will never give up the fight to own that ability, state media said on Wednesday.

North Korea’s attempt to launch a spy satellite on Monday failed after the first stage booster exploded in flight.

Kim made the remarks during his visit to the country’s Academy of Defense Sciences on Tuesday, KCNA news agency said.

“Possessing military reconnaissance satellites is a crucial task to strengthen national self-defense deterrence and protect national sovereignty and security from potential threats … due to U.S. military acts and provocations,” he said.

“The launch of a reconnaissance satellite this time did not accomplish its goal but, comrades, we shall not be disheartened or intimidated by the failure but instead intensify our efforts. Through failure we learn more and advance further.”

Despite the fiery failure, experts said the latest satellite launch by the North showcased

new strides

in the nuclear-armed country’s race for space, with the use of a new engine fuelled by liquid oxygen and petroleum.

That design suggests Russia may have assisted in building the rocket, one expert said, calling it a “huge leap.” North Korea and Russia have dramatically upgraded military cooperation since their leaders’ summit last year.

North Korea in November successfully launched a satellite putting it in orbit after two failed attempts earlier last year likely using a launch system it had developed for its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

KCNA said Kim made the speech to the scientists and engineers of the Academy of Defence Sciences on the 60th anniversary of its founding. The academy is a key military agency running the country’s missile program.

Monday’s satellite launch was conducted by a separate agency handling an aerospace program, KCNA said.

Kim assailed South Korea for criticizing the satellite launch and said Seoul was “playing with fire” by putting on a show of force and conducting drills involving fighter jets.

Hours after the launch by the North late on Monday, South Korea deployed fighter jets including the F-35 stealth fighter to conduct “attack drills” in a show of force.

South Korean and U.S. warplanes are conducting separate drills this week over the naval hotspot near the two Korea’s west sea maritime border.

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