North Korea has reportedly manufactured a new artificial satellite called "Kwangmyongsong-5", according to media reports, despite sanctions by the U.N. over fears that Pyongyang has used its space program to test ballistic missiles.
“Through various channels, we’ve recently learned that the North has completed a new satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-5,” the Joongang Ilbo daily reported, citing a South Korean government source, according to the AFP news agency.
“Their plan is to put a satellite equipped with cameras and telecommunication devices into orbit,” the soure told the paper.
A spokesman for the South Korean military joint chiefs of staff said there was “nothing out of the ordinary at this moment”, but added Seoul was watching for any provocative acts, “including the test of a long-range missile disguised as a satellite launch”.
The report came as the North’s paper Rodong Sinmun reasserted the regime’s right to launch satellites and develop its space technology.
Early this month, the Russian newspaper Rossiyskaia Gazeta quoted military expert Vladimir Khrustalev as saying North Korea was expected to launch two satellites — an Earth exploration satellite and a communications satellite — in the near future, after his week-long to North.
North Korea is known to have made some strides in its space programme since Kim Jong-un came to power in 2011. Pyongyang last launched a satellite, the Kwangmyongsong-4, in February 2016.