North Korea is preparing to launch its third spy satellite, with reports suggesting that the launch could take place as early as midnight on Wednesday. The country had previously communicated to Japan about a possible launch window, which is set to close on November 30th at 23:59 local time.
Japan, along with South Korea, will be working together to strongly discourage North Korea from proceeding with the launch. The two countries believe that such an action would be a violation of UN resolutions. It is worth noting that North Korea has made two failed attempts this year to send a spy satellite into space.
The Japan Coast Guard has been notified by North Korea about three designated maritime zones where debris from the satellite-carrying rocket is expected to fall. Two of these zones are situated to the west of the Korean Peninsula, while the other zone is located to the east of the Philippines’ island of Luzon.
South Korea’s chief director of operations at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kang Ho-pil, has issued a warning that Seoul will take necessary measures if the launch proceeds as planned. The United Nations Security Council has already banned North Korea from launching any satellites.
It’s worth mentioning that South Korea itself has plans to launch its own spy satellite by the end of November. The satellite will be carried into space by a rocket from the US company SpaceX. The purpose of the spy satellite is to enhance South Korea’s national security.
Additional details surrounding North Korea’s satellite launch plans are limited. However, in September, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested that Moscow would assist North Korea in building satellites. The exact nature of this cooperation remains unclear.