North Korea has announced its plan to launch a satellite as early as Wednesday, according to Japan. This will be the country’s third attempt to put a military eye in the sky, following failed attempts in May and August. Despite repeated warnings from Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington regarding the violation of UN resolutions, North Korea remains determined to proceed with the launch. It is believed that Russia has provided technical assistance to Pyongyang in exchange for arms transfers, raising concerns about strengthening ties between the two nations.
Japan’s Coast Guard has posted a notification on its website indicating a launch window between November 22 and December 1. In response, South Korea’s Oceans and Fisheries Ministry has issued a navigation warning for ships. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has stated that he will demand the cancellation of the launch and make efforts to prepare for unpredictable situations. Any use of ballistic missile technology by North Korea would be a violation of UN resolutions, and Japan is coordinating its response with South Korea and the United States.
North Korea has identified three potential danger zones for the launch, two in the Yellow Sea and one in waters east of the Philippines. These danger zones align with the ones announced during their previous satellite launch plans. South Korea has warned that North Korea is in the “final stages” of preparation for the launch, and Seoul’s military has vowed to take necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of its people. Countermeasures, such as suspending key military agreements and test-firing ballistic missiles, are also possible.
If the satellite launch is successful, it would significantly improve North Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly over South Korea. This would be crucial in any military conflict. North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year, prompting increased defense cooperation between Seoul, Washington, and Tokyo. The arrival of an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, in South Korea is aimed at enhancing the allies’ response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.