North Korea has informed Japan that it will make its third attempt to launch a satellite between November 22 and December 1. The rocket’s trajectory is expected to pass over the Yellow Sea and East China Sea, according to a notice posted by Japan’s coast guard. South Korea is also aware of the impending launch, with Defense Minister Shin Won-sik stating that the launch is imminent. He also suggested that North Korea’s timing may be related to South Korea’s first domestically-made reconnaissance satellite launch on November 30.
South Korea has warned of a stern response, including a possible partial suspension of the 2018 inter-Korean military deal. This launch would be a violation of the UN Security Council resolution that prohibits North Korea from using ballistic missile technology. Japanese President Fumio Kishida has also condemned the proposed launch as a violation of UN resolutions. Japan’s defense systems, including Aegis destroyers and PAC-3 defense missiles, are prepared for any unexpected situation.
Previous attempts by North Korea to launch a military reconnaissance satellite have ended in failure. The country’s last attempt in August was attributed to an error in the emergency blasting system during the third-stage flight. North Korea promised to make necessary adjustments and attempt another launch in October, but it appears they are running behind schedule.
While a previous launch in May 2023 also failed, South Korea found that the satellite had very limited military value. However, this upcoming launch is being taken more seriously, as there are reports suggesting that North Korea may have received technical assistance from Russia to address their rocket engine problems. Earlier this month, it was reported that Russia offered technical assistance to North Korea after the discovery of a munitions factory operated by North Korea for Russia.