North Korea has launched a rocket into space, believed to be carrying a spy satellite, according to reports from South Korea and Japan. The launch has raised concerns and prompted criticism from the international community.
The hermit kingdom claimed that it successfully launched a satellite into orbit and intends to launch more in the future. However, North Korea is prohibited from conducting satellite launches according to United Nations Security Council resolutions. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated that using ballistic missile technology for satellite launches is a violation of these resolutions and is a matter that greatly affects national security.
The missile launch on Tuesday evening led Japan to issue an emergency warning to its citizens on the island of Okinawa. North Korea’s missile capabilities pose a potential threat to the region, and Japan took precautions to ensure the safety of its citizens.
This recent launch adds to the growing space race between North Korea and South Korea. Both countries have announced plans to launch spy satellites by the end of November. North Korea claims that its satellite will be used to monitor the activities of the U.S. and South Korean military in the region.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that they believed Pyongyang had launched a “military reconnaissance satellite” that passed through South Korean airspace. They have heightened their alert posture and are closely sharing information with the United States and Japan regarding North Korea’s claimed satellite.
Before the satellite launch, the U.K. government announced a defense agreement with South Korea to enforce sanctions on North Korea. The agreement includes joint patrols of the South China Sea to enforce sanctions and foster closer relations between the two nations.
This launch comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where Putin expressed interest in helping North Korea with satellite building.
North Korea, asserting its “sovereign right” to strengthen its defense capabilities, has criticized the United States and its allies for attempting to establish a satellite monitoring system on strategic objects in North Korea and its neighboring countries.
South Korea is planning to launch its own spy satellite with the assistance of SpaceX and the United States in the coming week.