2 Dec 2023

North Korea says interference in its satellites would be declaration of war - KCNA

7:28 pm on 2 December 2023
TOPSHOT - Customers sit near a television showing a news broadcast at a restaurant in Seoul on November 21, 2023, after North Korea fired what it claims is a military spy satellite, Seoul's armed forces said on November 21, hours after Japan confirmed that Pyongyang had warned it of an imminent launch. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP)

Customers sit near a television showing a news broadcast at a restaurant in Seoul on 21 November after North Korea fired what it claims is a military spy satellite. Photo: AFP / ANTHONY WALLACE

By Heekyong Yang for Reuters

North Korea said on Saturday it would consider any interference with its satellite operations a declaration of war and would mobilise its war deterrence if any attack against its strategic assets were imminent.

Pyongyang would respond to any US interference in space by eliminating the viability of U.S. spy satellites, state media KCNA reported, citing a statement from North Korea's defence ministry spokesperson.

"In case the US tries to violate the legitimate territory of a sovereign state by weaponizing the latest technologies illegally and unjustly, the DPRK will consider taking responsive action measures for self-defence to undermine or destroy the viability of the US spy satellites," the statement said.

DPRK are the initials of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea says it successfully launched its first military spy satellite on 21 November, transmitting photos of military installations in the US mainland, Japan and the US territory of Guam.

A US Space Command spokesman, asked if Washington had the capability to interrupt the North Korean satellite's reconnaissance operations, said the US could deny an adversary's space capabilities using a variety of means, according to US broadcaster RFA.

Later on Saturday, North Korean state media issued a commentary by a North Korean international relations analyst, who argued "the United States with the most satellites in the world" should face the United Nations Security Council if sending satellites is considered a crime.

"If some unpredictable conflict breaks out in the Northeast Asian region surrounding the Korean Peninsula, the United States would be entirely responsible for such catastrophe," the commentary said. It also blamed the United States for joint military exercises with Japan and South Korea, as well as for displaying its nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

The United States on Thursday targeted North Korea with fresh sanctions after the launch, designating foreign-based agents it accused of facilitating sanctions evasion to gather revenue and technology for its weapons of mass destruction programme.

South Korea on Friday blacklisted 11 North Koreans for involvement in the country's satellite and ballistic missile development, banning them from financial transactions.

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