North Korea successfully launched a surveillance satellite into orbit, marking its third attempt this year. The satellite launch was detected by South Korea’s military, and the claim is yet to be independently confirmed. The United States condemned the launch, calling it a violation of UN Security Council resolutions that raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond.
The details about the satellite itself, including its camera capabilities, remain largely unknown. It is unclear whether the satellite will be able to provide North Korea with high-resolution pictures of U.S. and South Korean military installations and maneuvers. Earlier in the day, North Korea had warned Japan about the launch, which took place only hours later. Parts of the rocket were expected to have fallen into the sea around Japan and the Philippines.
After the launch, the South Korean military stated that it would take necessary measures, although it did not specify what those measures would be. The United States and its regional allies will now closely monitor the satellite’s activities, assuming it settles into a stable orbit, to assess its sophistication. Since 1998, North Korea has launched a total of six satellites, but experts believe that only two of them are still operational.
In addition to North Korea’s satellite launch, there are growing concerns about Russia’s ties with North Korea. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has expressed his concerns in South Korea, highlighting the need for vigilance with regards to Russia’s relationship with North Korea. Further actions and diplomatic efforts may be taken to address these concerns and mitigate potential risks in the region.
South Korea is also making its own preparations by planning to launch its own surveillance satellite for monitoring North Korea at the end of the month. The satellite will be launched from California using Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket.