North Korea Claims Successful Launch, West Has Doubts

North Korean state-owned media has published the below photos showcasing the launch of the military reconnaissance satellite “Malligyong-1” on “the new satellite transport rocket Chollima-1” from the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground.

The official announcement reads below:

At 22:42:28 on November 21, Juche 112 (2023), the State Administration of Aerospace Technology of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea launched the reconnaissance satellite “Manrikyeong-1” from the West Sea Satellite Launching Site in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, using a new satellite carrier rocket. It was mounted on the Chollima-1 and successfully launched.

The new satellite carrier rocket “Chollima-1” flew normally along the scheduled flight trajectory and accurately entered the reconnaissance satellite “Wangli-1” into orbit at 22:54:13, 705 seconds after launch.

The launch of a reconnaissance satellite is the legal right of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to strengthen its right to self-defense, and will greatly contribute to firmly enhancing the war readiness of the armed forces of the Republic in accordance with the safety environment created in the country and surrounding areas due to the enemy’s dangerous military maneuvers.

Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un, General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, observed the reconnaissance satellite launch on site.

Comrade Kim Jong-sik, Vice Director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Comrade Jang Chang-ha, Director of the Missile General Directorate of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, accompanied him.

Respected Comrade Kim Jong-un observed the launch of a reconnaissance satellite and greatly contributed to enhancing the war deterrence of our Republic. The executives and scientists of the entire State Aerospace Technology Administration and related organizations most accurately and brilliantly implemented the decisions of the 8th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea. ,The technicians were warmly congratulated.”

However, according to the South Korean Joint Chiefs, Japanese Ministry of Defense, and U.S. defense officials, it is still not clear if the Malligyong-1 achieved stable orbit or if the sensor package is operable. That analysis will most likely be published in a few days.

Meanwhile, the United States, several NATO countries, several EU countries, Japan, South Korea, and Australia have lambasted the Hermit Kingdom for the launch, citing the gross violations of UN Security Council resolutions against North Korean ICBMs. In fact, South Korean President Yoon is reportedly considering withdrawing completely from the Comprehensive Security Agreement of 2018 with the North over this launch.


United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.


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