North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong has promised Pyongyang that her country’s military spy satellite will soon enter orbit, state media KCNA reported Thursday.
“We are ready to do whatever it takes to protect his sovereign rights and interests,” Kim, a high-ranking government official, said in a statement released by KCNA.
His comments followed Wednesday’s failed North Korean satellite launch.
The launch appeared to be rushed and it could take at least several weeks to fix the missile’s problem, a South Korean parliament member said on Wednesday, citing South intelligence.
In a rare North Korean admission of defeat, KCNA announced that a missile carrying a military spy satellite called “Malligyong-1” fell into the sea after the crash.
KCNA also released images on Thursday of what it believed to be a new Cholima-1 rocket taking off from a launch pad on the coast in flames and smoke. The white and gray missile had a bulbous nose to carry the satellite payload.
The release was widely panned, including in South Korea, Japan and the United States.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Pyongyang’s launch using ballistic missile technology violated Security Council resolutions.
In his statement, Kim said criticism of Wednesday’s test was a “contradiction” because the US and other countries had already launched “thousands of satellites”.
In a separate statement by KCNA, North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Sun-kyong criticized US-led military exercises in the region, including a multi-national naval exercise against nuclear proliferation.
Commercial satellite images of one of the launch pads at the Sohe satellite launch site showed a dozen vehicles, US 38 North, a program that analyzes North Korea, said in a statement.
“It is yet to be confirmed which launch pad was used for the launch,” the report said. “However, the operation of the main launch pad is consistent with post-launch evaluation and cleanup.”
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