(Bloomberg) -- The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned no country can deny Pyongyang’s right to put a spy satellite into space and vowed to put one in orbit soon following Wednesday’s failed launch.
Kim Yo Jong said North Korea will strengthen its surveillance capabilities as part of a broader effort to boost deterrence against the US, in a statement issued via official Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.
North Korea’s vice foreign minister, in a statement published separately by KCNA, criticized the US and its allies for series of joint military exercises, including the largest-ever live-fire drills near the border in May.
“The US should stop at once the hostile acts of destabilizing the situation in the Korean Peninsula, bearing in mind that the ceaseless and dangerous war gambles being staged before our eyes will result in leading it to self-destruction,” the statement said.
Read more: US, South Korea Start Live-Fire Drills Set to Anger North
The remarks come after North Korea failed to put a satellite into orbit Wednesday morning and promised to revive efforts soon, drawing condemnation from the US, Japan and South Korea.
“North Korea’s dangerous and destabilizing nuclear and missile programs threaten peace and stability in the region and violate international law,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters following a meeting with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo on Thursday. “We stand with our Japanese and ROK allies in the face of North Korea’s continued provocations, including yesterday’s claimed space launch,” he added, using an abbreviation of South Korea’s official name.
The US and its allies have said that any launch using ballistic missile technology is a breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Analysts say the potential improvement of information-gathering capabilities via a satellite is probably more of a concern, given Pyongyang is regularly testing its ballistic missile technology, taking advantage of deadlock on the United Nations Security Council. A satellite would give the North the ability to monitor the movements of the American military ahead of time.
North Korea’s rocket crashed into the Yellow Sea Wednesday after losing propulsion in the second stage of the ascent, according to KCNA.
South Korean military retrieved an object from the sea that they suspected was the North Korean projectile.
Seoul’s spy agency told lawmakers that Kim likely observed the launch, and that the satellite was only capable of rudimentary reconnaissance missions. The agency said Pyongyang would likely need a few weeks to investigate the failed launch before trying again.
Kim Yo Jong, now serving as the vice department director of the Central Committee for the ruling Workers’ Party, has long been backed by her brother to voice criticism and issue warnings to the outside world.
--With assistance from Shinhye Kang, Peter Martin and Isabel Reynolds.
(Updates with comments from US defense secretary in sixth paragraph.)
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