Seoul, Nov 22 (EFE).- North Korea said on Wednesday through its state media that it had successfully put into orbit its first spy satellite, following a rocket launch on Tuesday that was detected by Seoul and Tokyo.
“The ‘Chollima-1’ space rocket flew normally along its preset trajectory and accurately put into orbit the ‘Malligyong-1’ satellite at 22:54:13, 705 seconds after its launch,” North Korea’s state-run KCNA said.
The allegedly successful launch, which has not yet been confirmed by the US or South Korea, comes after two failed attempts in May and August and was overseen by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the cited media outlet reported.
North Korea said putting its satellite into orbit was part of its “legitimate” right to bolster its defensive capabilities, and vowed to launch more of these reconnaissance devices “in a short period of time,” according to the KCNA release picked up by South Korea’s Yonhap agency.
The Pyongyang outlet added that the launch “will make a significant contribution to the final strengthening of the war-fighting capability of the armed forces” of North Korea.
South Korea’s military had said that it had detected “what North Korea claims is a military reconnaissance satellite” that was “launched in a southerly direction from the Tongchang-ri area (in the northwest of the country, where the Sohae launch site is located) at around 22:43 (13:43 GMT) on Tuesday”.
The rocket launch also triggered the activation of Japan’s national missile defense system for a few minutes, which sent a message to residents of Okinawa Prefecture (in the southwest) warning of the “apparent launch of a missile from North Korea” and advising them to “evacuate.”
North Korea had notified maritime authorities to restrict ships from entering areas where debris could fall between midnight (15:00 GMT) and December 1, but the space rocket launched an hour before the announced time.
Some countries believe that North Korea received technological assistance and advice from Moscow for its new launch, following the September summit between the North Korean leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which served to cement an agreement on military and aerospace cooperation and trade.
Seoul, Washington and Tokyo condemned the launch saying that it is a covert use of technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles, and stressing that both the launch and the exchange with Russia are prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. EFE