North Korea is in the final stages of preparations for the launch of a spy satellite and the chances of the third attempt succeeding are high, Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday (Nov 1), citing South Korea’s intelligence service.
North Korea has also sent more than 10 shipments of munitions to Russia for use in the war against Ukraine, including over one million artillery rounds, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) was quoted as saying.
That is roughly the supply of munitions that Russia expends in its war with Ukraine in two months, a member of the parliament committee, Yoo Sang-bum, was quoted as saying.
The NIS made the report in a closed-door parliament intelligence committee session, local media reported, citing a committee member who was in attendance.
North Korea has made two attempts to launch its first reconnaissance spy satellite this year that ended in failure as stages of the boosters experienced malfunctions.
The launch is part of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s push to bolster its military capabilities which also include long-range ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines and hypersonic missiles.
The North had previously pledged to make a third attempt in October, but has so far shown no indication that it was going ahead with the launch.
Kim met Russian President Vladimir Putin in September in the Russian Far East where he toured Russia’s modern space launch station, fuelling speculation that Moscow would help with his space program in return for the supply of conventional weapons.
South Korea, Japan and the United States have condemned the supply of arms and military equipment by North Korea to Russia, laying out what they said was evidence that confirmed deliveries of such shipments.
“North Korea is also seen to be trying to use the Israel-Hamas war in a multifaceted way,” Yoo was quoted as saying after the spy agency briefing.
“Indications of Kim Jong Un’s order to look for ways to comprehensively support the Palestinians have been obtained,” added Yoo, who could not immediately be reached for comment.
North Korea has denied it was supplying arms to Russia and has also dismissed reports by some military experts that its arms were being used by Hamas militants in the fighting against Israel.
The spy agency also said that North Korea dispatched a delegation that mainly consists of experts on artillery to Russia in mid-October, news reports said.