Speculation is growing over Russia’s contribution to North Korea’s claimed successful launch of a military reconnaissance satellite.
On Wednesday, the North announced that its spy satellite fired late Tuesday has successfully been placed into orbit after the two previous attempts in May and August both ended in failure attributed to faults in the second-phase propellant.
In the wake of enhanced cooperation between Pyongyang and Moscow, concerns have been raised over the procurement of assistance in its satellite launch or operations in return for the provision of conventional arms by North Korea for use by Russia in the Ukraine war.
Appearing on a KBS program on Sunday, defense minister Shin Won-sik assessed that the North had resolved most of its engine problems with Russia's help.
A South Korean military official told reporters on Tuesday that Seoul has detected signs of a technology team from Russia entering the North, while the National Intelligence Service said during a parliamentary audit that Pyongyang is believed to have received technical advice from Moscow.
The United States, for its part, has taken a reserved stance, with Department of Defense deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh saying she was not aware of anything pertaining to assistance from Russia.