Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has urged North Korea to abandon its plans to launch a satellite. The plea comes after Japan received a notice indicating areas in the sea where rocket debris may fall.
Prime Minister Kishida stated that a satellite launch by North Korea would be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions. He also expressed that the Japanese government would collaborate with the United States and South Korea to address the situation.
The Japan Coast Guard received a notice from an unidentified country, warning of a potential rocket launch from Wednesday to December 1. The notice specified three areas where debris may land: two west of the Korean Peninsula and one east of the Philippine island of Luzon.
Notably, these areas align with the flight paths of two rockets that North Korea previously launched this year in unsuccessful attempts to place a spy satellite into orbit. Just yesterday, South Korea cautioned Pyongyang against proceeding with the planned launch.
North Korea has disregarded previous warnings, asserting its right to pursue a civilian space program under international law. Leader Kim Jong Un has expressed that deploying a satellite is one of the nation’s top priorities, even seeking assistance from Russia for its space program.
While officials in Seoul have doubts regarding the capabilities of a North Korean spy satellite, they acknowledge that it could aid in refining target lists alongside the development of new missiles designed to potentially strike South Korea and Japan. These two countries host the majority of the United States’ military personnel in the region.
Furthermore, South Korea announced its intention to launch its first domestically-produced spy satellite on November 30. Defense Minister Shin Won-sik revealed that the satellite would be launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
North Korea’s first attempt to put a surveillance satellite into orbit this year took place on May 31, which ended in failure when the second stage engine did not ignite. South Korea managed to recover the rocket wreckage from waters in the Yellow Sea, providing valuable insights into North Korean rocket technology.
Similarly, North Korea’s subsequent endeavor to launch a similar satellite on August 24 was also unsuccessful, with the state media reporting issues with the rocket’s third stage.