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NKorea Prepping to Launch Satellite    05/24 06:25


   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea appears to be preparing to launch its 
second military spy satellite into space, South Korea's military said Friday, 
as animosities remain high over the North's continued weapons tests.

   Last November, North Korea placed its first military reconnaissance 
satellite into orbit as part of its efforts to build a space-based surveillance 
network to deal with what it calls U.S.-led military threats. North Korean 
leader Kim Jong Un later told a key governing party meeting that his country 
would launch three additional military spy satellites in 2024.

   On Friday, South Korea's military told local reporters at a background 
briefing that it detected signs that North Korea is engaging in activities 
believed to be preparations to launch a spy satellite at its main Tongchangri 
launch facility in the northwest. The military said South Korean and U.S. 
intelligence authorities are closely monitoring the North Korean moves.

   The contents of the briefing were shared with foreign media outlets 
including The Associated Press. The South Korean military didn't immediately 
explain exactly what North Korean activities were spotted in the Tongchangri 

   After launching its Malligyong-1 spy satellite on Nov. 21, North Korea said 
it had transmitted imagery of key sites in the U.S. and South Korea, including 
the White House and the Pentagon. But it hasn't released any photos, prompting 
widespread doubts about the capacity of its satellite.

   In recent months, North Korea has extended its run of missile tests to 
expand its weapons arsenal. Analysts say North Korea likely thinks a larger 
arsenal would increase its leverage in future diplomacy with the United States.

   Last week, South Korea said North Korea fired suspected multiple short-range 
ballistic missiles off its east coast. North Korea later said it tested a 
tactical ballistic missile with a new autonomous navigation system.

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