North Korea has informed Japan that it intends to launch a rocket carrying a space satellite sometime between November 22 and December 1. The rocket will be launched towards the Yellow Sea and East China Sea, according to Japan’s Coast Guard. This will be North Korea’s third attempt this year to put a spy satellite into orbit. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has condemned the planned launch, stating that it violates United Nations Security Council resolutions and poses a threat to national security. Japan is prepared to respond with its defense systems, including Aegis destroyers and PAC-3 air defense missiles, in case of any unexpected developments.
The launch of a satellite using ballistic missile technology is viewed as a violation by the international community. Japan, along with the United States, South Korea, and others, will strongly urge North Korea to cancel its launch plans. North Korea previously attempted to launch spy satellites earlier this year but was unsuccessful. The country has notified Japan of its plans each time as Japan is the coordinating authority for the International Maritime Organization in the relevant waters.
This planned launch comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia’s space launch center in September, where Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged support to Pyongyang in building satellites. Additionally, North Korea recently criticized the potential sale of hundreds of missiles to Japan and South Korea by the United States, calling it a dangerous act that raises tensions in the region.
North Korea considers its space and military rocket programs a sovereign right. It aims to place military spy satellites into orbit to monitor the movements of U.S. and South Korean troops. While previous attempts by North Korea to launch “observation” satellites have been successful, South Korean officials have cast doubts on their transmission capabilities. It is worth noting that South Korea also plans to launch its first reconnaissance satellite on November 30 with support from the United States. The launch will be conducted using a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket from the U.S. military’s Vandenberg base.