South Korea has warned North Korea to immediately cease its preparations for launching an espionage satellite for the third time. After two failed attempts earlier this year, Pyongyang is set to make another launch in the coming days. South Korean intelligence reported in early November that Pyongyang was in the final stages of preparation for its third attempt. The Defense Minister of South Korea, Shin Won-sik, stated that the launch could occur as early as this week.
The South Korean military has strongly advised North Korea to suspend the ongoing preparations for the launch of a military spy satellite. The director of joint operations at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kang Hopil, emphasized that if North Korea proceeds with the launch despite the warning, the necessary measures would be taken to ensure the safety of the population.
Analysts believe that there is a significant technological overlap between North Korea’s space launch capabilities and the development of ballistic missiles. It is suspected that Pyongyang is exchanging weapons with Moscow in return for Russian space technology to achieve orbit for their military spy satellite. This is in violation of multiple UN sanctions that prohibit North Korea from developing ballistic missiles.
Despite warnings from the United States, South Korea, and their allies, North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year. Last week, they declared successful ground tests of a “new type” of solid-fuel engine for their banned intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM). North Korea considers these tests a crucial step in the face of a “serious and unstable security situation.”
It is crucial for the international community to actively discourage North Korea from pursuing its espionage satellite project, as it poses a threat to regional stability and violates international regulations.