North Korea has issued formal notice of a satellite launch, defying warnings from South Korea and multiple UN resolutions banning Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology. The launch window has been set between November 22 and December 1. South Korea has warned North Korea to immediately stop preparations for the launch. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has instructed government ministries and agencies to prepare for a possible North Korean launch.
Seoul’s spy agency has revealed that Pyongyang is in the final stages of preparations for the satellite launch. South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff’s chief director of operations, Kang Ho-pil, has warned North Korea to suspend the current preparations. He has also stated that if North Korea goes ahead with the launch, the South Korean military will take necessary measures to ensure the safety of its people.
This would not be the first attempt at a satellite launch by North Korea. After a failed attempt in August, they had announced plans for a launch in October, which did not materialize. The UN Security Council has issued several resolutions calling on North Korea to cease its nuclear and ballistic missile programs since its first nuclear test in 2006.
There have been suggestions that North Korea is providing arms to Russia in exchange for space technology. Analysts believe that there is significant crossover between space launch capabilities and the development of ballistic missiles. Russian President Vladimir Putin has even offered to assist North Korea in building satellites, which would greatly enhance their intelligence-gathering capabilities over South Korea.
North Korea has been conducting a high number of weapons tests this year, despite warnings from the United States, South Korea, and their allies. The country recently announced successful ground tests of a new type of solid-fuel engine for its banned intermediate-range ballistic missiles.