North Korea’s Kim Jong-un promises launch of new spy satellites in 2024

Kim announces plans to bolster nuclear capacity: ‘A war can break out at any time on the Korean peninsula’

Stuti Mishra
Sunday 31 December 2023 10:41 GMT
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Related: Kim Jong-un and his daughter inspect military spy satellite

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared his country will launch three military spy satellites and build more nuclear weapons in 2024.

The North Korean leader announced on Saturday that the “grave situation requires us to accelerate works to acquire overwhelming war response capabilities and thorough and perfect military readiness to suppress any types of provocations by the enemies at a stroke”.

According to KCNA, Mr Kim, at the end of the Workers’ Party meeting, emphasised the “overwhelming” need for war readiness amid rising tensions with the US and its allies.

“Because of reckless moves by the enemies to invade us, it is a fait accompli that a war can break out at any time on the Korean peninsula,” he said.

Unveiling his bold vision for 2024, Mr Kim said he plans to introduce cutting-edge unmanned combat equipment such as armed drones and powerful electronic warfare devices along with bolstering the country’s nuclear capabilities.

He criticised the United States and its allies for unprecedented actions, pushing the Korean Peninsula to the verge of nuclear conflict.

Mr Kim directed the launch of three additional military spy satellites in 2024, building upon the success of the country's first reconnaissance satellite launched in November.

His assertion to expand North Korea’s nuclear weapons arsenal comes despite international pressure. In his speech, he ordered the acceleration of nuclear weapons production and development, signalling a continued focus on modernising the country’s nuclear capabilities.

“Based on the experience of successfully launching and operating the first reconnaissance satellite in 2023, the task of launching three additional reconnaissance satellites in 2024 was declared to vigorously promote the development of space science and technology,” the statement published by KCNA read.

Since last year, Mr Kim’s military has test-fired more than 100 ballistic missiles, many of them nuclear-capable weapons, in violation of a UN Security Council resolution that prohibits North Korea from using ballistic missile technology.

South Korea’s spy agency raised alert last week that North Korea can launch military provocations and cyberattacks ahead of South Korean parliamentary elections in April and the US presidential election in November.

“Pyongyang might be waiting out the US presidential election to see what its provocations can buy it with the next administration,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul.

The North Korean leader also announced that North Korea will no longer seek reunification with South Korea. He said inter-Korean relations had become “a relationship between two hostile countries and two belligerents at war”.

“It’s time for us to acknowledge the reality and clarify our relationship with the South,” Mr Kim added.

Additional reporting with agencies

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