North Korea said Wednesday it had succeeded in putting a military spy satellite in orbit after two previous failures, as the US led its allies in condemning the launch as a "brazen violation" of UN sanctions.
A rocket carrying the satellite blasted off Tuesday night from North Phyongan province, flew along its designated path and "accurately put the reconnaissance satellite 'Malligyong-1' on its orbit," state-run news agency KCNA reported.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was on hand to witness the blast off, and congratulated the scientists and technicians behind the mission, it added.
The United States quickly led condemnation of the launch as a "brazen violation" of UN sanctions and said it could destabilize the region.
South Korea reacted by saying it would resume surveillance operations along the border with North Korea that had been suspended in 2018 as part of a Seoul-Pyongyang agreement to reduce military tensions, the Yonhap news agency reported.
North Korea's previous efforts to put a spy satellite into orbit in May and August both failed. Seoul, Tokyo and Washington had repeatedly warned Pyongyang not to proceed with another launch, which would violate successive rounds of UN resolutions.
Space launch rockets and ballistic missiles have significant technological overlap, experts say, but different payloads, and Pyongyang is barred by UN resolutions from any tests involving ballistic technology.
Seoul's spy agency this month said Pyongyang appeared to have received technical advice from Russia, in return for sending at least 10 shipments of weapons for Moscow's war in Ukraine.
North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year.
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