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North Korea says it will launch its first military spy satellite in June

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SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea will launch its first military reconnaissance satellite in June for live monitoring of U.S. military activities, state media KCNA reported on Tuesday.

In a statement carried by the KCNA news agency, Ri Pyong Chol, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers’ Party, denounced joint military exercises by the United States and South Korea as openly showing their “reckless ambition for aggression.”

South Korean and U.S. forces began live-fire exercises simulating a “full-scale attack” from North Korea last week in what they said were the biggest such drills to demonstrate their “overwhelming” military capability against the North’s threats.

North Korea’s Ri said the drills required Pyongyang to have the “means capable of gathering information about the military acts of the enemy in real time.”

The statement did not specify the exact launch date, but North Korea has notified Japan of the planned launch between May 31 and June 11, prompting Tokyo to put its ballistic missile defences on alert.

Nuclear-armed North Korea says it has completed its first military spy satellite and leader Kim Jong Un has approved final preparations for the launch.

Japan has vowed to shoot down any projectile that threatens its territory, saying any North Korean missile launch would be a serious violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

(Reporting by Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool)

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