Seoul, South Korea — Top North Korean officials vowed to push ahead with a second spy satellite launch attempt as they called their country’s first launch and failure last month its “most serious” shortcoming this year. and harshly criticized those responsible, state media reported on Monday.
In late May, a North Korean rocket carrying a military reconnaissance satellite crashed shortly after takeoff, hindering leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to have a surveillance system in place. in space to better monitor the United States and South Korea.
The failed launch and efforts to modernize North Korea’s arsenal were hotly discussed at a three-day ruling party meeting that ended on Sunday, in the presence of Kim and top officials. other head.
A lengthy dispatch by the Korean Central News Agency about the meeting did not specify who spoke, but said a report of the meeting “sharply criticized officials who irresponsibly conducted prepare for (the) launch of the satellite”.
KCNA said the report sets a task for officials and scientists to draw lessons from the failed launch, find out what caused the rocket’s failure, and carry out a successful launch in a short time.
It did not say exactly when North Korea might make a second launch. But South Korea’s spy agency previously told lawmakers it could take “more than a few weeks” for North Korea to determine what happened in the failed launch.
North Korean monitoring groups have not reported any purges or firings of scientists or others involved in the failed launch. Observers say Mr Kim has treated scientists and technicians working in the country’s weapons development program well even though he has orchestrated a series of high-profile executions or purges of members. top officials to consolidate power during the early stages of rule.
A spy satellite is among a number of high-tech military assets that Kim has publicly announced he will acquire in response to what he calls US-led hostilities. Other weapons systems Kim wants to possess are multi-warhead missiles, nuclear submarines, solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles and hypersonic missiles.
Since the beginning of 2022, North Korea has carried out more than 100 missile tests, some related to the development of spy satellites and other powerful weapons on Kim’s wish list.
In April, North Korea tested a solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. The fuel in such rockets is already pre-loaded, making them more maneuverable than rockets using liquid propellants and difficult to detect by outsiders prior to launch.
During the party meeting, Politburo members announced “major strides” in efforts to expand North Korea’s nuclear and missile arsenals, and said they supported the policy of maintaining “the head-on” against the enemies of the government, KCNA said.
Politburo members also analyzed the “extremely deteriorating security situation” in the region caused by “reckless war moves” by opponents, apparently referring to military exercises. extended between the US and South Korea, the report said. It said it had unanimously approved unspecified response plans.
The United States and South Korea have been expanding military exercises to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal and have warned that any attempt to use nuclear weapons would lead to the collapse of the Kim Jong Un regime.
KCNA said members of the North’s Politburo had set unspecified “important tasks” to protect national interests and strengthen solidarity with countries “opposed to the US hegemony strategy”. for world domination”.
North Korea has pushed to strengthen ties with Russia over the war in Ukraine. It blamed the United States for the crisis and accused the West of pursuing a “hegemonic policy,” saying Russia was justified in using military action in Ukraine to protect itself.
North Korea has also sought to strengthen ties with China, its main ally and economic lifeline, which is locked in an increasingly bitter strategic competition with the United States over trade, technology and regional influence.
Russia and China, both permanent veto members of the United Nations Security Council, have repeatedly blocked efforts by the US and other countries to strengthen UN sanctions. China against North Korea over missile tests.
The party meeting also discussed national efforts to improve North Korea’s struggling economy, which experts say has been further strained by pandemic-related border closures.
KCNA said there had been some progress in efforts to improve agricultural output and restore production in the metal and chemical industries, although it acknowledged unspecified shortcomings. KCNA claims progress has been made in the field of construction, citing a project to build tens of thousands of new homes in the capital Pyongyang.
It is almost impossible to verify the claims of the North, one of the most secretive countries in the world. Experts say there is no sign of social unrest or famine in North Korea despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic and that Kim’s absolute control over his 26 million people remains unchanged.