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South Korean Intel Claims North Korea to Resume Missile Launches, Spy Satellite Program

© AP Photo / South Korea Defense MinistryObject salvaged by South Korea's military that is presumed to be part of the North Korean space-launch vehicle that crashed into sea following a launch failure
Object salvaged by South Korea's military that is presumed to be part of the North Korean space-launch vehicle that crashed into sea following a launch failure - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.08.2023
In May, North Korea attempted to launch its first military spy satellite. Known as Malligyong-1, it fell into the sea after North Korean media said it lost thrust following separation during the first and second stages. Parts of the object were recovered by South Korea for study.
The South Korean spy agency has reportedly claimed that North Korea is planning more long-range missile tests and will continue its attempts to launch a spy satellite.
The South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) further told lawmakers in the country that North Korea is facing food shortages and an ailing economy, which is chalked up to UN sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic. While the NIS’ track record for reporting on North Korea has been notoriously spotty, there are signs from within North Korea that at least elements of the report have merit.
North Korean state media appeared to admit to some issues with crop production in recent articles. One touted “efforts” to “improve growth state of crops” in four North Korean provinces as well as in the Pyongyang and Nampho municipalities. Another article mentioned steps to “protect crops” in the North Hwanghae Province.

A third article described events held in rural areas around the country in which “Party information workers and lectures” gave “intensive lectures and information activities” designed “to encourage the agricultural workers to become patriotic peasants supporting the Party with rice, bearing deep in their mind the great benevolence of the Party Central Committee.”

In one province it reportedly included an “art performance with songs and poems to rev up the zeal of agricultural workers.”
According to North Korean media, the crop issues are due to “natural disasters” and “disastrous abnormal weather,” and the NIS admits there are no signs of famine or large-scale unrest in the country.
The missile tests and launches ordered by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have been increasing, most in response to or as a warning ahead of joint military exercises held by the United States and South Korea.
A U.S. F-22 Raptor performs during the Dubai Air Show, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.02.2023
South Korea, US Stage Another Joint Air Drills to Improve Military Cohesion
The military exercises were once a regular feature around the peninsula but were paused when former US President Donald Trump and former South Korean President Moon Jae-In began negotiations with North Korea in 2018. That year saw both a reduction of joint military exercises and no missile launches by Pyongyang; however, after talks broke down in February 2019, the missile tests resumed.
After current US President Joe Biden and current South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol took office in 2021 and 2022 respectively, both the joint military exercises and missile launches increased exponentially.

In May 2022, Yoon lifted the suspension of joint military exercises as one of his first acts of office. Months later, South Korea and the United States announced the largest joint exercises between the countries in five years.

In March of this year, the US and South Korea held their largest-ever joint military exercises and another large-scale set of exercises will begin over 10 days starting August 21.

In July, the nuclear-capable USS Kentucky submarine stopped in South Korea’s largest port, Busan, for the first time in 42 years in what the South Korean Ministry of National Defense openly touted as a show of the alliance’s “overwhelming capabilities and readiness.”
Meanwhile, North Korea launched a record number of missile launches and tests, 69, in 2022, easily topping the previous record of 25. The tests have continued into 2023, and North Korea is openly talking about its plans to launch a military spy satellite, something it attempted to launch in May. That test resulted in the satellite falling into the ocean after liftoff, but the NIS says the North may try again in the coming weeks.
People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea's firing a ballistic missile off its east coast, in Seoul, South Korea, March 5, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.03.2022
North Korea’s Latest Launch Was Part of ‘Important’ Spy Satellite Testings
Last week, Kim ordered an increase in munition production during a recent military factory inspection tour. He was reported by North Korean state media as saying that the Korean People’s Army (KPA) needs an “overwhelming military force” to deter its enemies from “daring” to attack, adding that soldiers need to be prepared to “go to war at any moment” and be able to “surely annihilate” their enemies if they do attack.
During his last year in office, Moon called on the Biden administration to learn from both the successes and failures of Biden’s predecessor, urging shortly before Biden’s inauguration to restart negotiations by using Trump, Moon and Kim’s first meeting as a starting point. “The dialogues can pick up the pace if we restart from the Singapore declaration and seek concrete measures in the negotiations.”
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