North Korea released images that the country said were taken from space by its most powerful missile yet, BBC News reports.

The news: Pyongyang confirmed Monday that it released a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile.

  • North Korea released images — supposedly taken from that missile — of space.
  • The images show the Korean peninsula and nearby areas from space.
  • This was the biggest missile tested by North Korea since 2017, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: “The country has already conducted two hypersonic missile tests in January this year and experts believe, given the fact that the North released pictures from outer space, they will soon launch a reconnaissance satellite,” according to BBC News.

The bigger picture: There’s growing concern that the missile tests could be a sign that the country is gearing up to test missiles that could hit the United States, per The Guardian.

  • “They are looking to take actions, which we believe are fundamentally destabilizing, as a way to increase pressure,” an unnamed official said during a briefing in Washington, according to The Guardian.
  • “I think that there probably is a component that is also to validate the systems that they’ve developed and further refine them.”