Mon. Dec 11th, 2023
North Korea Announces Plan to Launch Satellite

North Korea informed Japan on Tuesday of its intention to launch a satellite in the next few days, a move which violates U.N. resolutions. This will be North Korea’s third attempt to launch a military spy satellite, following two failed attempts earlier this year due to technical issues.

The Japanese coast guard stated that North Korea has notified Tokyo that the satellite launch is expected to take place between Wednesday and November 30. The launch notification also provided information about three maritime zones where debris from the rocket carrying the satellite may fall. These areas are the same ones identified in North Korea’s previous failed satellite launches in May and August.

South Korea has strongly warned North Korea to cancel its launch plans or face consequences. The South Korean military has suggested that it may suspend the 2018 inter-Korean agreement to reduce tensions and resume front-line aerial surveillance and live-firing drills in response to the North Korean satellite launch.

The United Nations Security Council has resolutions in place that ban any satellite launches by North Korea, as they are viewed as a cover for testing missile technology. North Korea claims that it needs a space-based surveillance system to monitor its rivals, but South Korea argues that the launches are also intended to enhance its long-range missile program.

In response to the launch plans, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has ordered officials to coordinate with other countries to request that North Korea cancels its launch. Japanese destroyers carrying Aegis-class radars and PAC-3 missile defense systems have been activated on Okinawa as a precautionary measure.

During trilateral phone talks, Japan, South Korea, and the U.S. affirmed their cooperation in strongly urging North Korea to cancel its launch plan. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry called on North Korea to immediately withdraw its launch plan and stated that it will deal sternly with this “illegal provocation.”

After two previous failed attempts, North Korea vowed to make a third attempt in October but did not follow through. It is believed that the delay may be due to North Korea seeking technology assistance from Russia.

North Korea and Russia have been seeking to expand their relationship amid separate confrontations with the West. Russia is allegedly assisting North Korea with technology in exchange for conventional arms support for its war efforts in Ukraine. The United States has stated that Russia should not supply North Korea with technology that violates U.N. Security Council resolutions.

North Korea’s recent satellite launches have not resulted in further sanctions, as Russia and China have blocked efforts by the U.S. and other countries to strengthen sanctions against North Korea. The USS Carl Vinson and its battle group arrived at a South Korean port on Tuesday in response to North Korea’s evolving nuclear threats. The U.S. has also previously flown nuclear-capable bombers and deployed a nuclear-armed submarine in South Korea.