North Korea continues to defy South Korea and UN resolutions by launching what it claims to be a military surveillance satellite toward Seoul. The North Korean launch was preceded by a warning to Japan. South Korean joint chiefs of staff stated, “North Korea has launched what it claims to be a military surveillance satellite in the direction of the South.” Meanwhile, Japan reported that North Korea had launched a missile, which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida strongly condemned. Kishida said, “We have already strongly protested against North Korea. At the moment, we are waiting to see if there has been any damage. Even if they call it a satellite, launching an object using ballistic missile technology is clearly a violation of UN resolutions.”
The Japanese government briefly ordered residents of the Okinawa region in the southwest of the country to take shelter following the announcement of the launch. South Korea had previously warned that North Korea was in the “final stages” of preparing for a new espionage satellite launch. On Monday, the South Korean military warned North Korea to cease its preparations immediately, stating that it would take necessary measures if needed.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol may suspend the military agreement made in September 2018 in Pyongyang, which aims to reduce military tensions along the highly secure inter-Korean border by creating maritime “buffer zones.” Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, also noted that missile tests using solid-fuel medium or long-range ballistic missiles by South Korea should not be ruled out.