Kim Jong-un’s furious sister Kim Yo Jong has lashed out after experts mocked ‘useless’ and ‘grainy’ images from North Korea’s new spy satellite.
‘I really want to slap these b*****ds who are rattling on but don’t know where to start,’ Ms Yo Jong said, according to North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday.
North Korea earlier claimed its rocket launches on Sunday were tests of its first military reconnaissance satellite and on Monday its state media released low-resolution black and white images.
Analysts and experts in South Korea have cast doubt over the regime’s ‘important final-stage’ test for developing its own reconnaissance satellite.
Pictured: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo Jong
North Korea earlier claimed its rocket launches on Sunday were tests of its first military reconnaissance satellite and on Monday its state media released the grainy images
Some civilian experts in South Korea and elsewhere said the photos were likely a cover for North Korea’s missile technology.
A statement from Ms Yo Jong called the criticism ‘malicious disparaging’, ‘rubbish’ and ‘dog barking’.
‘Didn’t they think their assessments are too inadequate and imprudent as they commented on our satellite development capability and related preparations only with two photos that we’ve published in our newspaper,’ the senior ruling Workers’ Party official said.
‘I think it’s better for them to stop talking nonsense, behave carefully and think twice,’ she warned.
Ms Yo Jong said the test satellite launched carried a commercial camera because there was no reason to use an expensive, high-resolution camera for a one-time test.
Pictured: Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, delivers a speech during the national meeting against the coronavirus, in Pyongyang, North Korea, on Wednesday, August 10, 2022
She said North Korea used two outdated missiles as space launch vehicles – one for a test of tracking and receiving signals and the other for taking satellite photos and other tests.
‘If we want to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, we just fire it. We don’t use a satellite to carry out a disguised test of a long-range missile test as South Korean puppets claim to sway public opinions,’ Ms Yo Jong said.
Ms Yo Jong indicated that a higher-resolution camera will be installed on the final version of the military reconnaissance satellite, which is set to be launched in April 2023 or shortly after.
Kim, whose official title is a vice department director at the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, is considered as the North’s most influential official after her brother, according to South Korea’s spy service.
Pictured: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un as he directs a ground ejection test – a high-power solid fuel engine test – conducted at the Saikai satellite launch site in South Pyongan Province.
She derided South Korea’s military for its assessment of Sunday’s launches as medium-range missile firings and lambasted South Korea’s Unification Ministry for condemning the satellite launch for violating U.N. Security Council resolutions banning any ballistic rocket liftoffs by North Korea.
Ms Yo Jong said developing a spy satellite is a sovereign right directly related to North Korea’s national security. She said North Korea will fight international sanctions and boost its defense capabilities because its right to exist is being threatened.
She also dismissed the South Korean government’s assessment that North Korea still is short key remaining technologies to have functioning ICBMs that can reach the U.S. mainland – such as the ability to protect its warheads from the harsh conditions of atmospheric reentry.
Pictured: Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019
Ms Yo Jong questioned how North Korea could have received data from warheads until they landed in previous launches if the country truly lacked reentry technology.
‘I think it’s better for them to stop talking nonsense, behave carefully and think twice,’ she said.
A spy satellite was among a slew of high-tech weapons systems that Kim Jong Un said last year that North Korea needed to better deal with U.S.-led military threats. Other weapons Kim wants to develop are multi-warhead missiles, solid-fueled long-range missiles, underwater-launched nuclear missiles, nuclear-powered submarines and hypersonic missiles.
North Korea has developed advanced technologies to take images from space using a spy satellite, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un insisted Tuesday, after experts mocked black-and-white pictures supposedly taken from space in a weekend launch.
Pictured: Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea, as taken sometime between September 25 and October 9
Ms Yo Jong’s defence of North Korea’s satellite capabilities comes after the isolated country said it conducted an ‘important final-stage’ test for the development of a reconnaissance satellite.
But experts in Seoul quickly raised doubts, saying the quality of the photos – presumably taken from the satellite – was too poor.
In a lengthy, vitriolic statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, Kim said it was ‘too inappropriate and careless’ to evaluate Pyongyang’s satellite development progress and capability based on the two images.
She insisted a camera installed on the satellite had the ‘reliability of ground control including attitude control and shooting control command in a suitable space flight environment’.
Kim also said the satellite’s data transmission devices and encryption processing technology were reliable.
‘We carried out a necessary test and reported the significant and satisfying result, which was not lacking,’ she said.
The development of a military reconnaissance satellite was one of Pyongyang’s key defence projects outlined by her elder brother Kim Jong Un last year.
Pictured: Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, waits for the start of the preliminary round of the women’s hockey game between Switzerland and the combined Koreas at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea
North Korea is under biting international sanctions for its nuclear weapons programmes, but peaceful satellite launches are not subject to the same level of restrictions.
But analysts say developing such a satellite would provide North Korea with cover for testing banned intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), as they share much of the same technology.
Earlier this year, Pyongyang carried out two launches, claiming it was testing components for a reconnaissance satellite, which the United States and South Korea said likely involved components of its new Hwasong-17 ICBMs.
The younger Kim rebuked claims that the North’s satellite launches were thinly disguised firings of banned ICBMs.
‘If we develop ICBMs, we will fire ICBMs, and not test long-range rockets disguised as satellites,’ she said.
Kim also dismissed analysts doubting that the North has the advanced technology needed for the rocket to survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, saying she would explain it in ‘an easy-to-understand manner’ to their naysayers.
‘If the atmospheric re-entry technology was insufficient, it would not be possible to receive remote data from the pilot combat unit until the moment of impact,’ she said.
The weekend’s launch comes after a year of unprecedented weapons tests by North Korea, including the launch of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile the month before.
The United States and South Korea have warned for months that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test.
The two countries held a joint air drill on Tuesday, and deployed a US B-52H strategic bomber to the Korean peninsula, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
The long-range heavy bomber was part of an exercise that included the US and South Korea’s most advanced jets – including the F-22 and the F-35 stealth fighters.
Experts say North Korea is particularly sensitive about US-South Korean joint air drills, as its air force is one of the weakest links in its military, lacking high-tech jets and properly trained pilots.