North Korea Says Space Program Is a Sovereign Right, Vows to Defend Satellite

by | Dec 3, 2023

North Korea Says Space Program Is a Sovereign Right, Vows to Defend Satellite

by | Dec 3, 2023


Kim Jong un watches satellite launch

The North Korean Defense Ministry said the nation would go to war if its satellite was attacked. Pyongyang placed a surveillance satellite into orbit last month, declaring that having a space program is a sovereign right. The North Korean government refuses to negotiate over the existence of its space program. 

A statement from the Defense Ministry released on Saturday asserted, “Any attack on space [assets] of the DPRK will be deemed a declaration of war against it.” North Korean state media, KCNA, added, “The US Space Force’s deplorable hostility toward the DPRK’s reconnaissance satellite can never be overlooked as it is just a challenge to the sovereignty of the DPRK, and more exactly, a declaration of war against it.”

“Article 8 of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, stipulates that any object launched into outer space definitely falls under the jurisdiction of the launcher state and the ownership of it never changes no matter it remains in outer space or returned to the earth.” The KCNA Article continued, “This means that the reconnaissance satellite “Malligyong-1” is a part of the territory of the DPRK where its sovereignty is exercised.”

After Pyongyang successfully launched the satellite, Seoul retaliated by announcing it would resume surveillance flights along the DMZ, a violation of a 2018 demilitarization pact between North and South Korea. Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un responded by completely withdrawing from the agreement. Pyongyang has started to rebuild outposts along the DMZ that were destroyed during a recent period of warming relations. 

Washington responded to Pyongtang’s success by blasting North Korea at the UN Security Council. The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called the satellite launch a “reckless, unlawful” action threatening its neighbors.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Supreme Leader Kim, issued a sharp rebuke to Thomas-Greenfield. “I deplore the fact that the UNSC, at which the purpose and principle of the UN Charter have to be strictly respected, is being turned into a land of lawlessness where the sovereignty of independent states is wantonly violated, extreme double standards are imprudently applied and injustice and high-handed practices are rampant due to the US and some forces following it, and strongly denounce and reject it,” she said according to KCNA. 

“The whole course of the open meeting of the UNSC over the DPRK’s reconnaissance satellite launch, convened at the gangster-like demand of the US and its followers, clearly proves how weak, false, and absurd are the unreasonable arguments of some UN member states denying the DPRK’s sovereign rights,” Kim protested.

During her speech to the UNSC, Thomas Greenfield also said Washington was open to talks with Pyongyang. “I took heed to the trivial explanation of Thomas Greenfield who described the US as a “victim” of the present situation while illustrating their stand for “meaningful dialogue” and efforts for “peaceful solution,” out of the lack of justifiable ground for branding the irrefragable DPRK’s right to space development as “illegal.” She continued, “The sovereignty of an independent state can never be an agenda item for negotiations, and therefore, the DPRK will never sit face-to-face with the US for that purpose.”

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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