(Seoul) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the launch of North Korea’s first military reconnaissance spy satellite, the construction of which has just been completed, the state news agency reported on Wednesday. .

During a visit by the North Korean space agency, Kim Jong-un demanded “ that the first military reconnaissance spy satellite (of North Korea), completed in April, be launched on the scheduled date ”, according to the official KCNA news agency.

The leader, who inspected the National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) with his daughter, however, did not give further details on the launch date. Addressing the staff of the space agency, he called for the deployment of “ several reconnaissance satellites in different orbits ”.

Acquiring military reconnaissance technology is “ an essential task to accomplish ”, underlined Kim Jong-un, to counter what he described as threats and aggression from Seoul and Washington.

The statement comes days after Pyongyang said it had successfully launched its new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a major step forward for North Korea’s weapons program.

In December 2022, North Korea said it had conducted an “important final test” in the development of a spy satellite. Assertions immediately called into question by experts who had asserted that the quality of the images, supposed to have been taken from a satellite, was poor.

The development of a military reconnaissance spy satellite was already one of the major projects of the North Korean defense program presented by Kim Jong-un in 2021.

“ It seems that North Korea will launch its satellite for the time being, which remains ‘symbolic’, and will gradually improve it”, declared to AFP the defector An Chan-il, director of the World Institute of North Korean studies.

“If China and Russia do not provide technological support, it will be difficult for North Korea to carry out espionage activities with its own equipment,” he said.

But for Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, the North Korean leader’s announcement should be taken seriously.

According to him, “ since North Korea’s reconnaissance satellites can play a key role in the event of a preventive nuclear strike, they represent a significant threat for South Korea ”.

North Korea has recently increased its ballistic missile tests and declared last year that its status as a nuclear power was “ irreversible”, definitively closing the door to any negotiations on its disarmament.

Washington and Seoul have strengthened their military cooperation and multiplied large-scale joint maneuvers in the region, which has provoked the ire of Pyongyang, which considers these exercises as dress rehearsals for an invasion of its territory.