Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un KCNA/via REUTERS

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Wednesday the country will launch a number of reconnaissance satellites in coming years to provide real-time information on military actions by the United States and its allies, Reuters reported, citing North Korea’s official news agency KCNA.

While inspecting North Korea's National Aerospace Development Administration, Kim said "a lot" of military reconnaissance satellites would be put into sun-synchronous polar orbit in the period of a five-year plan first announced last year.

"He noted that the purpose of developing and operating the military reconnaissance satellite is to provide the armed forces of the DPRK with real-time information on military actions against it by the aggression troops of the U.S. imperialism and its vassal forces in south Korea, Japan and the Pacific," the KCNA report said.

North Korea has conducted several tests of reconnaissance satellite systems in recent weeks, most recently this past weekend.

Authorities in South Korea, Japan, and the United States says the tests involved launches of ballistic missiles.

Kim defended the satellite work as not only about gathering information, but protecting North Korea's sovereignty and national interests, exercising its legitimate rights to self-defense, and elevating national prestige.

North Korea has carried out nine missile tests since January. One of those launches was a test of a Hwasong-12 mid-range ballistic missile. This marked the first time Pyongyang has tested a weapon that powerful since 2017.

Pyongyang restarted its missile tests after denuclearization talks with the United States came to a halt.

Former US President Donald Trump tried to reach an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

The Biden administration reached out to North Korea shortly after taking office, but the country did not respond to those overtures.

In Biden’s first policy speech to Congress, he said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”.

Responding to that speech, North Korea dismissed the idea of talks with Washington, saying Biden’s speech was “intolerable” and “a big blunder."