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North Korea’s Kim inspects spy satellite photos of 'target regions'

Kim examined photos of Seoul and other cities of Mokpo, Kunsan, Pyeongtaek and Osan, where U.S. and South Korean military bases are located.
Image: NKOREA-SKOREA-SATELLITE-MISSILE
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (R) preparing for the operation of the reconnaissance satellite in Pyongyang.STR / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspected photos taken by the country’s new spy satellite of “major target regions,” including the South Korean capital of Seoul and cities that host U.S. military bases, state media said on Saturday.

Nuclear-armed North Korea launched the satellite on Tuesday, but South Korean defence officials and analysts said its capabilities have not been independently verified.

Kim examined photos of Seoul and other cities of Mokpo, Kunsan, Pyeongtaek and Osan, where U.S. and South Korean military bases are located. The photos were taken as the satellite passed over the peninsula on Friday morning, state news agency KCNA said.

Kim examined the photos, as well as images of some areas within North Korea, during a visit on Friday to the control centre of the National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA) in Pyongyang.

On Saturday, Kim visited the control centre once again to examine more photos taken in the morning of different target regions in South Korea: Jinhae, Busan, Ulsan, Pohang, Daegu and Gangneung.

One photo showed U.S. aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, which arrived at a port in the South Korean city of Busan on Tuesday, according to KCNA.

During the visit, Kim also inspected photos of U.S. Naval Station Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air Force Base taken by the satellite as it passed over Hawaii early on Saturday.

In a separate commentary carried by KCNA on Saturday, North Korea criticised the United States for providing advanced weapons to its “puppets”, saying that even a small spark on the Korean peninsula would result in a global nuclear war.

“The United States had better ponder over the catastrophic consequences entailed by the arms offer to the puppet forces,” it said.

Top diplomats of Japan, South Korea and the United States spoke on Friday and “strongly condemned the (Nov. 21) launch for its destabilizing effect on the region,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Earlier this week, KCNA said Kim viewed images taken above the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam of U.S. military installations.

On Thursday, South Korean Defence Minister Shin Won-sik said North Korea had “exaggerated” by saying Kim had already viewed images of Guam.

“Even if it enters normal orbit, it takes a considerable time to carry out normal reconnaissance,” Yonhap quoted him as saying at the time.