North Korea has announced that it successfully placed a spy satellite into orbit on Tuesday night, marking its third attempted launch this year. The launch, which could not be independently confirmed, is likely to be met with strong condemnation from the United States and its allies. The United Nations prohibits North Korea from conducting satellite launches, as they are viewed as covers for testing missile technology.
In a statement, North Korea’s space authorities said that the Malligyong-1 satellite was placed into orbit following liftoff from the country’s main launch center. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly observed the launch and stated that it would enhance the nation’s war readiness in response to perceived hostile military actions from rivals. South Korea and Japan confirmed that they detected the launch, with Japan even issuing a brief missile warning to residents in Okinawa.
Although North Korea claims that the satellite launch is for peaceful purposes, other countries view it as a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that the launch poses a serious threat to people’s safety. A spy satellite is one of the key military assets that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un desires, as he aims to modernize weapons systems to counter perceived U.S. threats.
North Korea had attempted to launch a spy satellite twice earlier this year, but both attempts failed due to technical issues. The delay in the third launch is believed to be the result of receiving Russian technological assistance for their program. North Korea and Russia have been looking to expand their relationship, leading to speculation of a weapons deal between the two nations.
The successful satellite launch, if confirmed, could indicate that North Korea is making progress in developing intercontinental ballistic missiles. South Korea’s military has suggested that it may suspend an agreement to reduce tensions and resume front-line aerial surveillance and firing exercises if North Korea proceeds with the launch. The U.S., South Korea, and Japan have urged North Korea to cancel the launch, but no united response has been achieved due to opposition from Russia and China.