Kim Jong Un inspects satellite photos of US, South Korea, state media says

Kim examined ‘major target regions’, including the US military base at Pearl Harbor, KCNA says.

Kim
Kim Jong Un has worked to advance his country's space programme [File: KCNA via AFP]

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has inspected spy satellite images of “major target regions”, including the South Korean capital, Seoul, and the United States military base at Pearl Harbor, according to state media.

Kim examined photos of several US and South Korean military bases, including Naval Station Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, during a visit to the National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA) in Pyongyang, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Saturday.

Kim, the third generation of his family to rule the secretive North, also viewed images of the South Korean cities of Busan, Mokpo, Kunsan, Pyeongtaek and Osan, all of which host military installations, the KCNA said.

The images included a picture of the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which is currently in Busan, according to KCNA.

Kim’s tour followed Pyongyang’s announcement on Tuesday that it had successfully placed its first spy satellite, Malligyong-1, into orbit.

South Korean defence officials and analysts have said that it is too early to determine the capabilities of the satellite.

South Korean intelligence officials have said that Pyongyang was able to launch the satellite after two failed attempts with assistance from Russia.

North Korea and Russia have strengthened their ties in recent months amid deepening isolation on the international stage, with Kim travelling to Russia in September to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin and Kim held their summit at Russia’s main space launch centre and the Russian leader said at the time that his country would help Pyongyang advance its space programme.

The United States, Japan and South Korea condemned this week’s satellite launch, which was prohibited under UN sanctions intended to thwart the country’s development of ballistic missiles.

The KCNA reported earlier this week that Kim had viewed satellite images of military installations in the US Pacific territory of Guam.

South Korean Defence Minister Shin Won-sik said North Korea’s claims were an exaggeration given the brief passage of time since the launch of the satellite.

“Even if it enters normal orbit, it takes a considerable time to carry out normal reconnaissance,” Shin was quoted as saying on Thursday by Yonhap News Agency.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies