North Korea shows off surveillance satellite it claims it can launch
To counter the 'US imperialists and the South Korean puppet villains'
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has shown off the pariah state's first surveillance satellite.
Military Reconnaissance Satellite No. 1 was showcased on Wednesday by state newswire KCNA – sadly without any details about the orbiter's capabilities.
Kim declared "The successful launch of a military reconnaissance satellite is an urgent request starting from the established national security environment, an accurate implementation process of the Party and the government of the Republic of Korea's top priority policy to strengthen national defense capabilities, and at the same time, the country's space military and science and technology."
He added the bird is a necessary asset to defend the North from "confrontation maneuvers by the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet villains."
If the Democratic People's Republic of Korea launches this satellite it will be quite a feat – only ten nations and the European Union have managed to send objects into space atop their own vehicles.
North Korea certainly possesses advanced missile technology and nuclear weapons. It uses the existence of same to deter intervention in its repressive regime, which perpetuates Kim's power while doing very little for the nation's impoverished citizens.
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In 2014 the United Nations published a report [PDF] detailing the extensive and revolting repression of human rights in the country – including arbitrary detention, operation of prison camps in which torture is practised, violations of the right to food, and enforced disappearances of citizens and foreign nationals.
North Korea is also a known backer of gangs that use malware to, among other things, steal cryptocurrency. Those digi-dollars are funnelled into the nation's weapons programs rather than used to sustain its citizens.
This satellite is therefore probably made possible by cyber crime and paid for in purloined bitcoin, while its main payloads are propaganda and fear.
There's no word on when the satellite is expected to launch - if it is indeed more than a vehicle for DPRK belligerence. ®