North-aligned news outlet in Japan alludes to satellite launch

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North-aligned news outlet in Japan alludes to satellite launch

A Pyongyang-aligned Korean media outlet based in Japan said Monday that a satellite from North Korea will "fly toward space at the time and place when the top leadership decides."
The Choson Sinbo, a newspaper published by the General Federation of Korean Residents, or Chongryon, made the statement in its column “Echo” as part of a report on the most recent ballistic missile test conducted by the North on Saturday, which the secretive regime said was aimed at developing a reconnaissance satellite.
“The operation of a reconnaissance satellite is one of the strategic tasks for the development of the defense industry mentioned at the 8th Conference of the Korean Workers’ Party,” the Choson Sinbo reported in its explanation of the test, which was met with dismay and condemnation from the South and the United States.
“The National Aerospace Development Administration has focused on satellite development and has been pushing ahead with the project according to the timetable presented by the top leadership,” the outlet reported, referring to the North’s space agency.
The newspaper also defended the need for the North to develop its own reconnaissance satellite, saying, “[North] Korea is in a state of war with the United States, which has launched numerous spy satellites and is closely monitoring various parts of the world.”
The Choson Sinbo’s argument echoes claims put forth by Pyongyang in its official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) that the purpose of the ballistic missile test was to develop the country’s space reconnaissance capability.
Nuclear-armed North Korea fired a ballistic missile toward the eastern waters off the Korean Peninsula on Saturday, four days before South Korea is set to hold its presidential election.
A day later, the North’s state-run KCNA reported that the test “confirmed the reliability of data transmission and reception system of the satellite, its control command system and various ground-based control systems.”
Chongryon, the Choson Sinbo’s parent group, is one of two representative organizations — the other being the South Korea-friendly Mindan — for zainichi, or Korean residents in Japan, and functions as Pyongyang’s de facto embassy in the country in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Approximately 25 percent of 610,000 Korean residents in Japan who have not adopted Japanese nationality are members of the Chongryon, while 65 percent are members of Mindan.
As the Choson Sinbo is known for defending the North’s official position in its communications, the paper’s journalists enjoy more access to North Korea than foreign counterparts, often scoring exclusive tours of new projects, firsthand reports on important issues in relations between Pyongyang and Tokyo, and even American prisoners in the North.
The newspaper also said in its report that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “emphasized that the path to conquering the universe is not merely a scientific path, but rather a path of revolution, independence and a fierce class struggle to carry out the legacy of [his] predecessors against hostile forces trying to undermine the peace and sovereignty” of North Korea.

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