Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un last September
The South Korean intelligence services believe that Pyongyang received decisive technological assistance from Russia, where Kim Jong-un visited in September and met with President Vladimir Putin, to succeed in putting this satellite, the Malligyong-1.
Experts say putting an operational spy satellite into orbit would optimize North Korea's quest for intelligence, particularly compared to its South rival, through access to crucial data in the perspective of a military conflict.
During the party meeting, Kim Jong-un said the Korean Peninsula was in the grip of a persistent and uncontrollable crisis situation, the fault of which he said lay with the United States and South Korea.
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He therefore ordered a reshuffle of the administrations managing relations with the South in order to to fundamentally change direction.
I think it's a mistake we should no longer make to consider people who call us their "worst enemy" as people with whom we can consider reconciliation and unification.
A quote from Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea
The two Koreas began a process of rapprochement in 2018, characterized by three meetings between Kim Jong-un and the South Korean president at the time, Moon Jae-in. This rapprochement, however, was shattered and tensions between the two enemies are currently at their height.
The North Korean leader, accompanied by his daughter, observes the launch of a missile.
At the start of the party meeting, the North Korean leader had already called for accelerating his country's war preparations, including its nuclear weapons program, in the face of confrontational maneuvers by the United States and its allies .
North Korea conducted a record number of ballistic missile tests in 2023. It also enshrined its status as a nuclear power in its constitution, and successfully tested the Hwasong-18, the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in its arsenal, capable of reaching the United States. p>
A Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile is launched in North Korea on December 18, 2023.
For their part, the United States, South Korea South and Japan have intensified their military cooperation, activating a real-time data sharing system on North Korean missile launches and increasing joint military maneuvers in the region.
The US armed forces have notably sent the nuclear-powered submarine USS Missouri, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and a B-52 strategic bomber to South Korea in recent months, provoking each time the anger of North Korea.
Pyongyang sees the military maneuvers on its doorstep as a rehearsal for a future invasion of its territory and considers its missile tests have long been necessary countermeasures.