A high-ranking official of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party says the country's first military reconnaissance satellite will be launched in June.
Ri Pyong Chol, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party, issued a statement through the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Tuesday.
Ri criticized the United States and South Korea for holding major live-fire drills since last Thursday, and said the countries raised military tensions in the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding areas.
He said North Korea's planned satellite launch is indispensable for real-time tracking and monitoring of "the dangerous military acts of the US and its vassal forces" and to strengthen the military preparedness of his country's armed forces.
He added that "various reconnaissance means" are due to be newly tested, without giving further details.
The statement was released one day after Pyongyang notified Japan of its plan to launch what it calls an "artificial satellite" sometime between May 31 and June 11.
North Korea last launched what is believed to be a long-range ballistic missile under the pretext of putting a satellite into orbit in February 2016.
If Pyongyang does so again, it would violate UN Security Council resolutions that ban the country from conducting any launches using ballistic missile technology.