Kim Jong-un shown photos of US military bases taken by new spy satellite, North Korea claims

South Korea calls Pyongyang’s claims ‘exaggerated’

Stuti Mishra
Saturday 25 November 2023 09:38 GMT
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Kim Jong-un celebrates successful satellite launch with daughter

North Korea claims its leader Kim Jong-un has reviewed photos of US military bases in Hawaii and Seoul that were taken by his new spy satellite.

The nuclear-armed nation successfully launched the satellite in orbit on Tuesday, although South Korean defence officials and analysts are yet to independently verify its capabilities.

South Korea’s defence minister had earlier said the North’s claims of seeing US military installations through the satellite were “exaggerated”.

Mr Kim inspected photos reportedly taken by the spy satellite on Friday and Saturday of “major target regions”, said state-run KCNA.

Among the most significant “target regions” supposedly seen by Mr Kim were the US Naval Station Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

The satellite also captured images of several cities in South Korea, including capital Seoul, Mokpo, Kunsan, Pyeongtaek and Osan, KCNA reported. All the cities house US and South Korean military bases.

One photo also showed US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, which arrived at a port in Busan on Tuesday.

Photos of Jinhae, Busan, Ulsan, Pohang, Daegu and Gangneung cities were also seen by Mr Kim during his Friday and Saturday visits to Pyongyang’s National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA).

Kim Jong-un celebrates spy satellite launch with daughter

“The NATA reported to Kim Jong-un on the plan for photographing the region of South Korean puppets and the additional fine-tuning process of the reconnaissance satellite,” KCNA said.

In a separate commentary carried by the state-run mouthpiece on Saturday, North Korea criticised the US for providing advanced weapons to its “puppets”, saying even a small spark on the Korean peninsula could result in a global nuclear war.

“The United States had better ponder over the catastrophic consequences entailed by the arms offer to the puppet forces,” it said.

Top diplomats of Japan, South Korea and the US on Friday “strongly condemned the launch for its destabilising effect on the region”.

Earlier this week, KCNA said Mr Kim viewed images taken above the US Pacific territory of Guam of US military installations.

On Thursday, South Korean defence minister Shin Won-sik said North Korea had “exaggerated” its claims by saying Mr Kim had viewed images of Guam before.

“Even if it enters normal orbit, it takes a considerable time to carry out normal reconnaissance,” Yonhap quoted him as saying at the time.

Additional reporting by agencies

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