N. Korea unveils scores of earth photos taken from atmosphere

SEOUL-- North Korea on Monday disclosed scores of photos of the Earth taken from mid-atmosphere via a camera installed on a ballistic missile which it test-fired the previous day, in an apparent bid to show off its missile atmospheric reentry technology.

In its Monday issue, the Rodong Sinmun, an official daily of the North's ruling Workers' Party, made public 58 color photos showing the Earth while saying, "The test-fire of the ground-to-ground medium-to-long range strategic ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 was conducted successfully once again."

The paper's front page carried photos showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with a broad smile surrounded by senior party officials and Gen. Kim Rok-gyom, commander of the North Korea army's Strategic Forces, and the Pukguksong-2 soaring from a mobile launch pad, called transporter erector launcher (TEL), trailing gray smoke.

Notable is that five photos played up on the third page are believed to have been taken when the missile was entering the atmosphere.

"Our dear leader Kim Jong-un has said he is really happy to see real-time earth photos that were sequentially taken by the camera on the ballistic missile (from the atmosphere)," the paper said.

"All the world looks beautiful," Kim was quoted as saying.

It's the first time the North has disclosed earth photos taken from a launched missile.

The previous day, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Pukguksong-2 flew some 500 km and dropped into the East Sea after reaching a maximum altitude of around 560 km.

"The disclosure of the photos seems to be intended to show off its confidence in its atmospheric reentry technology to the world," Yang Uk, a senior researcher at the Seoul-based think tank Korea Defense Forum, said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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