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Russia aids North Korea in launching spy satellite - Intelligence

Russia aids North Korea in launching spy satellite - Intelligence North Korea launched a spy satellite with the help of Moscow (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

South Korea's intelligence agency reported that North Korea received assistance from Russia for the successful launch of a spy satellite this week, according to Reuters.

The launch marked North Korea's third attempt, following two previous failures, and the first since Kim Jong Un's visit to Russia in September. During that visit, Vladimir Putin promised to assist Pyongyang in satellite development.

According to Yoo Sang Bum, a member of the parliamentary intelligence committee, after negotiations between the leaders, North Korea provided data on the carrier rockets used in two previous satellite launches, and Russia offered its analysis of the data.

"Regarding the success of the third launch, the National Intelligence Service assessed that there was assistance from Russia," Yoo told journalists, referring to Putin's publicly stated commitment to help North Korea with carrier rocket technology and data exchange between Pyongyang and Moscow.

North Korean state media reported on November 22 that Kim Jong Un received images of U.S. military facilities taken over Guam. However, Yoo said that it is difficult to verify whether the satellite is capable of capturing such images.

South Korean military officials claimed that parts of the rocket salvaged after the unsuccessful second launch in May indicated it couldn't be used as a reconnaissance satellite.

"They were not in a situation to determine the satellite's capabilities unless North Korea releases a video showing that it took those pictures of Guam," Yoo said, citing the intelligence agency.

Another committee member, Youn Kun-young, said that the launch was successful because the satellite entered orbit, and that North Korea could launch more satellites and conduct a nuclear test next year.

The latest satellite launch by North Korea drew condemnation from the U.S. and other Western countries, leading South Korea to suspend parts of the 2018 military agreement with the North.

Russia and North Korea deny any arms agreements but have pledged to intensify military cooperation.

UN resolutions supported by Russia prohibit the development of technologies used in North Korea's ballistic missile programs, as well as cooperation in areas such as nuclear science, technology, aerospace, and aviation.