North Korea has notified Japan of its intention to launch a rocket carrying a space satellite between November 22 and December 1. The rocket is planned to be launched in the direction of the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. If successful, this will be North Korea’s third attempt this year to put a spy satellite into orbit.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the announcement and stated that Japan’s defense systems, including Aegis destroyers and PAC-3 air defense missiles, are prepared for any unexpected situation. Kishida highlighted that using ballistic missile technology to launch a satellite is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and poses a significant threat to national security.
Japan will collaborate with the United States, South Korea, and other countries to strongly urge North Korea to cancel the launch. North Korea has previously attempted to launch spy satellites twice earlier this year, but both attempts failed.
The planned rocket launch follows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia in September, during which he toured Russia’s space launch center, and received promises of assistance from President Vladimir Putin in building satellites.
North Korea’s announcement also comes after their denouncement of the potential sale of hundreds of missiles by the US to Japan and South Korea. The North expressed concerns that this act could lead to an arms race and raised tensions in the region. They stated their intentions to enhance deterrence and respond to what they perceive as instability caused by the US and its allies in the region.
South Korea’s defense ministry has not yet responded to these developments. North Korea has not made an official announcement on their state media regarding the rocket launch.
North Korea has been actively seeking to place a military spy satellite into orbit to monitor the movements of US and South Korean troops. Previous attempts to launch observation satellites have yielded some successes, but the effectiveness of these satellites has been doubted by South Korean officials.
The planned rocket launch is scheduled just before South Korea’s own plan to launch its first reconnaissance satellite with assistance from the United States on November 30. This launch is set to take place at the U.S. military’s Vandenberg base using a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket.