North Korean leader Kim Jong Un approves spy satellite plan

North Korea says its leader Kim Jong Un has inspected the country's first spy satellite ahead of its launch.

Wednesday's edition of the ruling Worker's Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said that Kim inspected on Tuesday the country's No.1 military reconnaissance satellite, which is ready for loading after undergoing the final assembly check and space environment test.

The paper also said Kim approved the next step of the action plan for the spy satellite. The plan was reportedly made by the Satellite Launch Preparatory Committee. But the article did not touch on specific schedules.

Kim is shown in a photograph clad in a white coat looking at what appears to be the spy satellite. He is accompanied by his daughter.

The paper quoted Kim as saying that as the United States and South Korea escalate their confrontational moves against North Korea, the country will more squarely and offensively exercise its sovereignty and the right to self-defense.

On Sunday, a US-based research group said that a large crane has been built near the launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in North Korea's northwest. The group suggests that repair work may be underway.

United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from launching objects using ballistic missile technology.

But the country reiterated its intention to launch a long-range ballistic missile under the pretext of putting a satellite into orbit.

The launch would be the first since February 2016, in violation of the UN resolutions.