North Korea has announced plans to launch a military reconnaissance satellite this month. This will be the third attempt to put a satellite into orbit, following two previous failures in May and August. The launch could take place as early as next week to coincide with the founding of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party. North Korea is prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions from using ballistic missile technology, which is also used in satellites due to its nuclear weapons programs. Despite this, the regime is persisting in advancing its weapons capabilities and recently unveiled a submarine capable of tactical nuclear attacks. The US has accused North Korea of supplying munitions to aid Russia’s war in Ukraine, and there are concerns that Pyongyang could potentially transfer weapons technologies, like satellites and submarines, in return. Domestically, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is increasing efforts to strengthen the country’s nuclear forces. This comes as the US-led coalition and North Korea face an impasse over restarting disarmament negotiations. Washington is refusing to provide sanctions relief before denuclearization, while Pyongyang is demanding sanctions relief first. The North recently criticized a resolution from the International Atomic Energy Agency calling for disarmament, and the US is now urging China, historically North Korea’s largest benefactor, to help bring the regime back to dialogue.
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