North Korea said on Monday that it tested cameras to be installed on a spy satellite, with the announcement coming a day after its neighbours detected a new ballistic missile launch. While the North Korean state media didn’t directly acknowledge any missile launch on Sunday, it said the “important test” involved cameras for a reconnaissance satellite conducting vertical and oblique photography of a specific area of Earth. State media also released photos of the Korean Peninsula that appeared to be taken from space.
Technical details of the North Korean statement couldn’t be independently confirmed. But the statement suggests North Korea likely launched a rocket or a missile to take space-based photos.
A spy satellite is among an array of sophisticated weapons systems that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed last year to develop under military modernisation plans to cope with what he called hostile U.S. policies toward his country.
Putting a satellite into orbit requires a long-range rocket launch, but the United Nations has banned North Korea from such launches since both ballistic missiles and the rockets used for satellite launches share similar bodies, engines and other technologies.