North Korea on Monday unveiled photos of the Earth taken by a camera mounted on a ballistic missile it launched a day earlier.
Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the ruling Workers’ Party, published dozens of colour photos of Sunday’s Pukguksong 2 missile launch, including several pictures of the Earth taken from a high altitude (the missile reached a maximum altitude of 560 km), Efe news reported.
Experts have indicated that five of these photos, that appeared on page 3 of the daily, seem to have been taken when the missile was re-entering the lower atmosphere.
This is the first time the Kim Jong-un regime has revealed images from a missile-mounted camera and the move is being interpreted as Pyongyang’s attempt to demonstrate its mastery over the missile atmospheric re-entry technology.
The country has never provided concrete data on the performance of its missiles while they re-enter the atmosphere until now, making it impossible to assess Pyongyang’s actual capacities in missile re-entry technology.
This technology is key to ensuring that the warhead is able to withstand the vibrations and heat of the flight’s terminal phase before the impact.
While a detailed study of the images by experts is awaited, the publication of the photos seem intended at unsettling the international community, especially the US.
Earlier this year, the North Korean leader had warned they were in the advanced stages of developing an intercontinental missile, that would be able to reach the US.
There has been an escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula owing to repeated weapons testing by Pyongyang and tougher rhetoric, as well as a threat of preemptive strikes, by the US.