North Korea has informed Japan that it will make a third attempt to launch a military spy satellite in the coming days, despite objections from its neighbors and in violation of UN Security Council rules. The Japanese Coast Guard stated that North Korea has notified Tokyo of its intention to launch the satellite between November 22 and 30. The Coast Guard spokesperson, Kazuo Ogawa, identified three areas in which debris from the rocket could fall: two in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and China, and the third in the Philippine Sea.
This announcement comes a day after South Korea warned North Korea to cancel its launch plans or face consequences. The South Korean military suggested that Seoul would suspend the inter-Korean agreement of 2018, which aimed to reduce tensions, and resume frontline aerial surveillance and live-fire exercises in response to North Korea’s satellite launch.
UN Security Council resolutions prohibit any satellite launch by North Korea, as they are seen as a cover for testing missile technology. While North Korea claims it needs a space surveillance system to better monitor its rivals, others argue that these launches are intended to strengthen its long-range missile program. It is worth noting that North Korea has conducted hundreds of missile tests over the past year in its efforts to modernize its nuclear-capable weapons arsenal.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called on officials to coordinate with other countries to urge North Korea to cancel its satellite launch plans. The South Korean Ministry of Unification stated that it has strongly urged North Korea to abandon the launch as it poses a serious threat to regional peace.
During trilateral phone talks, high-ranking officials from Japan, South Korea, and the United States expressed their cooperation in firmly requesting North Korea to cancel its launch plans, according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It was previously reported that North Korea had received technological assistance from Russia, which may have contributed to the delay in its third launch. Foreign governments and experts have raised concerns that North Korea is seeking Russian technology to enhance its nuclear and military capabilities in exchange for conventional weapons to support Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine.
The recent arrival of the USS Carl Vinson and its tactical group in a South Korean port demonstrates the allies’ strong determination to address North Korea’s growing nuclear threats.