North Korea has informed Japan of its plan to launch a satellite between November 22 and December 1. This would potentially be the country’s third attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit, in violation of a UN ban. Japan’s Coast Guard reported that the North gave notice of the launch in the direction of the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. South Korea issued a warning to vessels in those areas, as it has done in previous launches.
Previous attempts by North Korea to launch spy satellites earlier this year were unsuccessful. However, South Korean officials believe that the country is preparing for another attempt soon. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed immediate condemnation, stating that Japan’s defense systems were prepared for any “unexpected situation.” Kishida stressed that using ballistic missile technology for a satellite launch violates United Nations Security Council resolutions and greatly affects national security.
Japan plans to work with the United States, South Korea, and other countries to strongly urge North Korea not to proceed with the launch. South Korea’s defense ministry is closely monitoring the situation, noting that previous launches have taken place on the first day of the designated window. It is possible that the upcoming launch will be successful.
North Korea has previously notified Japan, as the coordinating authority for the International Maritime Organization in those waters, about its satellite launch plans. The country considers its space and military rocket programs to be a sovereign right and aims to develop a fleet of satellites to monitor the movements of US and South Korean troops.
The planned launch comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Russia’s modern space station in September, where President Vladimir Putin promised assistance in building satellites. North Korea criticized the potential US sale of missiles to Japan and South Korea, calling it a dangerous act and vowing to boost deterrence in response to increased tension.
South Korea has demanded that North Korea cancel its satellite launch plans, viewing it as a threat to its security. The country has been abiding by a 2018 agreement with the North to avoid actions that raise tension, while North Korea has repeatedly violated the agreement by launching missiles and drones. South Korean officials are considering the suspension of certain parts of the agreement in response.
In the midst of these developments, the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson has arrived in the South Korean port of Busan as part of increased readiness against North Korea’s threats. Additionally, South Korea is scheduled to launch its first reconnaissance satellite from California on November 30, with the assistance of the United States.