The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the main state-owned media arm of North Korea, reported on Kim's viewing of the photos just hours after the isolated communist nation claimed the successful launch of the country's first military spy satellite.
Following the launch of the satellite, Kim immediately visited the satellite control center in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. There, Kim reportedly observed satellite pictures taken of Andersen Air Force Base in the village of Yigo in northeastern Guam, as well as Naval Base Guam on Apra Harbor in Western Guam. (Related: Blinken admits having "real concerns" over military ties between Russia, North Korea.)
KCNA claims Kim also viewed photos of other major U.S. military bases in the area, but its report did not include any of the images allegedly taken by the satellite.
North Korea allegedly launched its first military spy satellite, the "Malligyong-1," into orbit late on Tuesday, Nov. 21, from the country's west coast. KCNA claims the device is currently undergoing "fine-tuning" before it formally begins its reconnaissance mission on December 1.
The United States, Japan and South Korea, which have been closely watching the launch, did not give any confirmation if the spy satellite actually was deployed, let alone operational. However, South Korea has indicated that it is willing to believe that Pyongyang's latest attempt to place a satellite into orbit has been a success, although additional analysis is needed before determining whether the device is operating normally.
If confirmed, Kim's spy satellite would be the first that North Korea has successfully placed into orbit in space.
Kim's regime was quick to own up to its mistakes when it failed to place two spy satellites into orbit earlier this year. Both attempts ended with the rockets experiencing engine problems shortly after takeoff and falling into the sea.
Now that North Korea has seemingly succeeded in its goal, Kim declared that his long-term goal for his country's space capabilities is to launch "many more" spy satellites and place them "on different orbits," as part of efforts to better monitor the military movements of the "U.S. imperialists and their vassal armies," which KCNA reported are supposedly endangering the regional military situation.
The U.S. and its allies have quickly condemned the placing of the spy satellite into orbit as a provocation and a violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions, while quickly redeploying troops in South Korea as a show of military force against Pyongyang. This includes the docking of a U.S. aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered submarine in South Korean ports.
For its part, Seoul announced that, in response to the launch, it would resume reconnaissance and surveillance flights along the border with North Korea. South Korea has also suspended parts of the 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang, which helped – at least temporarily – reduce tensions along the border.
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Watch this clip from the "Worldview Report" speculating on whether North Korea has secretly launched another satellite armed with a nuclear device.