North Korea Plans to Modernize Sohae Pad to Launch Military Satellites

FILED - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends the performance titled
FILED - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attends the performance titled "The Glorious Country", on the sidelines of the Inter-Korean Summit, at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, 19 September 2018. Photo: -/Zuma Press/dpa

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected the Sohae cosmodrome and ordered to modernize it to launch multi-purpose satellites, including military reconnaissance ones, from the pad in the future, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Friday.

According to the state news agancy, Kim visited the launching station together with high representatives of the country’s arms industry and national defense research sector. The leader reportedly set a goal for modernizing and expanding the pad to adapt if for future launches of missiles carrying out different types of multi-purpose satellites.

Last Saturday, North Korea test-fired a suspected ballistic missile from around the Sunan area in Pyongyang toward the Sea of Japan. According to the South Korean military, the missile flew about 270 kilometers (168 miles) reaching a maximum altitude of 560 kilometers (348 miles). It fell outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

The Saturday launch became Pyongyang’s ninth test since the beginning of this year.

A similar launch was carried out by Pyongyang on February 27, when a ballistic missile was also test-fired from the Sunan area toward the Sea of Japan, as part of the reconnaissance satellite project.

The South Korean National Security Council regarded the launches as violation of UN Security Council resolutions and condemned Pyongyang for raising tensions in the region amid South Korea’s preparations for the 2022 presidential election and the Ukrainian crisis.

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