Although North Korea, like other countries, claims that its space program is for civilian, rather than military, purposes, there is good reason to suspect that this is not quite what is going on, and that its government will simply use these capabilities to continue developing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of carrying nuclear warheads, to continue threatening global security. North Korea, like other countries, is probably planning to use its space program to militarize and weaponize the realm of space itself.
It is in this context that North Korea’s Kwangmyongsong-5 satellite, whose imminent launch was first reported in December 2017, needs to be viewed. The report did not come as a surprise, particularly as two months earlier, North Korea’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Kim In-Ryong, told the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space about his country’s five-year plan, from 2016 through 2020, to develop “practical satellites that can contribute to the economic development and improvement of the people’s living.” As Fox News reported, however, “…many U.N. members, including the U.S., fear that North Korea’s space program is actually a cover for its weapons program.”
According to an article in the Asia Times in January: