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Seoul, May 17 – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the country’s first military reconnaissance satellite and gave the green light for its next action plan, Pyongyang’s state media said on Wednesday, adding that the satellite is “ready for loading” on a rocket.
Kim made the on-site inspection to the Non-permanent Satellite Launch Preparatory Committee a day earlier to check the overall status of the spy satellite and approved of its “future action plan”, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, in a move that signals the launch could be imminent.
“After acquainting himself in detail with the work of the committee, he inspected the military reconnaissance satellite No. 1 which is ready for loading after undergoing the final general assembly check and space environment test,” Yonhap News Agency quoted the KCNA as saying.
Kim stressed that the successful launch of the satellite is an “urgent requirement under the prevailing security environment” and a process of “bolstering up the defence capabilities on a top priority basis”.
The KCNA did not provide further details on the “future action plan”, including the exact date of the launch.
Experts said the North is likely to calibrate the ideal timing of the satellite launch, considering climate conditions and major political events.
Photos released by the KCNA showed Kim’s daughter Ju-ae accompanying the inspection in lab gowns and head caps.
The latest inspection marks Kim’s first public activity since his on-site visit to the North’s space development agency on April 18, when he announced that the North has completed building its first military spy satellite.
In December last year, Pyongyang said it had conducted an “important final-stage” test at its rocket launching facility for the development of its first reconnaissance satellite.
The development of spy satellites was one of the key weapons projects announced by Kim during a ruling party meeting in January 2021.