After decades of satellite surveillance by foreign governments and analysts, North Korea has sent its first spy satellite on a global orbit with a message to the world: we can watch you too.
On Tuesday North Korean state media said leader Kim Jong-un had reviewed spy satellite photographs of the White House, Pentagon and US aircraft carriers at the naval base of Norfolk.
North Korea last week successfully launched its first reconnaissance satellite, which it has said was designed to monitor US and South Korean military movements.
Since then state media has reported the satellite photographed cities and military bases in South Korea, Guam, and Italy, in addition to Washington.
"Remember when you got that toy you always wanted at Xmas and were so excited you wanted to tell everyone about it?" Chad O'Carroll, founder of the North Korea-focused website NK News, said of the KCNA reports in a post on X.
So far, Pyongyang has not released any imagery, leaving analysts and foreign governments to debate how capable the new satellite actually is.
South Korea, which said the Thursday launch date for its own first spy satellite on a US Falcon 9 rocket would be delayed by weather, has said the North's satellite capabilities could not be verified.
In Washington, the Pentagon said North Korea's satellite did enter orbit but did not comment on Pyongyang's claims about the images it had captured.
"I will say that there are plenty of images of the Pentagon and the White House online," Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters.
North Korea released panchromatic imagery of downtown Seoul after a rocket launch in December 2022 in what it said was a test of the satellite control, image taking and data downlink for its eventual military reconnaissance satellite.
Tuesday's photos were the latest in a series of images of what KCNA described as "major target regions".
Kim also inspected satellite photos of the Andersen Air Force Base in the US Western Pacific territory of Guam and a US shipyard and airbase in Norfolk and Newport, where four nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and a British aircraft carrier were spotted, KCNA said.
Commercial imagery of those cities on Monday, the day North Korea says it captured its photographs, was not immediately available.
The United States and South Korea have condemned the satellite launch as a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions banning any use of ballistic technology.
Australian Associated Press