North Korea is preparing to launch satellites to spy on the military actions of Western nations, Kim Jong-un has said.
The North Korean leader said 'a lot' of military satellites would be put into orbit over the next five years, state news agency KCNA reported.
The announcement comes both at a time of heightened global tensions as a result of Putin's nuclear threats and invasion of Ukraine, but also at a time of difficult relations between North and South Korea.
President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol won South Korea's recent election by a hair on Thursday (March 10), and after comments made about Kim Jong-Un calling him a 'rude boy', looks set to revive tensions between the two nations.
According to experts, North Korea appears to be preparing to launch a reconnaissance 'spy' satellite, which use the same banned ballistic missile technology as the country's weapons tests – and so could prove to be extremely controversial.
The news agency stated: "[Kim Jong-Un] noted that the purpose of developing and operating the military reconnaissance satellite is to provide the armed forces of the DPRK with real-time information on military actions against it by the aggression troops of the US imperialism and its vassal forces in South Korea, Japan, and the Pacific."
North Korea claims it conducted two tests of satellite systems over the last two weeks, with one reportedly taking place on February 27 and another on March 5.
The launches have been condemned by a number of international superpowers, and the US military said it had heightened surveillance in the Yellow Sea, as well as upping its ballistic missile defence readiness.
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Kim defended the decision, stating the purpose of the satellites was both about gathering information and protecting North Korea's sovereignty and national interests, state media reported.
KCNA said: "[Kim] stressed that this urgent project for perfecting the country's war preparedness capacity by improving our state's war deterrent is the supreme revolutionary task, a political and military priority task to which our Party and government attach the most importance."
This isn't the first time announcements by North Korea have come made headlines recently.
Party officials have stated they believe nuclear weapons are the only thing saving the East Asian nation from being invaded in the same way Ukraine was by Russia two weeks ago, with one high-ranking official claiming Ukraine would never have been attacked if it had kept its own cache of nuclear weapons.
Another official stated nuclear weapons were the only way to prevent foreign invasions.
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