North Korean state media said on Sunday that the country performed tests that would be necessary to create a spy satellite, signaling that the pariah state could soon launch a long-range rocket despite a United Nations ban.
The Korean Central News Agency said on Sunday North Korea had conducted “another important test” to test a reconnaissance satellite’s data transmission and reception as well as control systems, according to The Associated Press.
However, it remains unclear if North Korea has a camera that would be able to produce images in a high enough resolution to have spying capabilities. The country would need to launch a long-range rocket to put such a satellite into orbit.
“While it may succeed in what it calls ‘a reconnaissance satellite launch,’ it would still likely take a very long time for North Korea to obtain militarily meaningful reconnaissance technology because of powerful international sanctions that restrict its import of high-tech equipment and its poor civilian technology,” Cheong Seong-Chang, an analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, told the AP.
Sunday’s announcement marked the second tests of this kind in roughly a week, marking the increased possibility of a long-range rocket launch.
The report comes after North Korea fired a ballistic missile test into the sea on Saturday.
After that launch was detected by the South Korean military, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said U.S. and South Korean intelligence officials were analyzing the situation.
Following several launches in January, North Korean officials warned that it might resume nuclear tests because of what they have referred to as the hostility of the U.S.