South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense is closely monitoring North Korea as the regime notified Japan of its plans to launch a military spy satellite. The launch could occur as early as Wednesday. North Korea informed Japan that the satellite would be launched between Wednesday and December 1, targeting the Yellow Sea and East China Sea.
In a show of force against North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and flagship of Carrier Strike Group 1, arrived in Busan, South Korea. This is the third U.S. aircraft carrier to visit the country in 2021, following the USS Nimitz in March and the USS Ronald Reagan in October, demonstrating the United States’ commitment to extended deterrence in the region.
If successful, this would be North Korea’s third attempt to launch a military reconnaissance satellite into orbit. The designated maritime areas that could be affected by the satellite launch include two areas off the Yellow Sea and one east of the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean. Seoul’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries has issued navigation warnings for vessels in these areas in accordance with International Maritime Organization procedures.
The timing of the launch is still uncertain, but the previous two attempts were carried out at dawn on the first day of North Korea’s notice period. The launches failed, prompting speculation that Pyongyang might need more time and assistance, possibly from Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed intentions to help develop North Korea’s satellite program.
South Korea and the United States have warned North Korea to halt preparations for the satellite launch, emphasizing that it violates UN Security Council resolutions. The South Korean Ministry of Unification has also stressed that necessary follow-up measures will be taken in cooperation with the United States and Japan.
In addition to concerns about the satellite launch, the Pentagon spokesman has reiterated U.S. concerns about arms deals and technology transfers between Russia and North Korea. The United States has made it clear that such actions violate UN resolutions.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has stated that Aegis-equipped destroyers and PAC-3 missile defense systems are on standby in Okinawa in case of any unexpected developments.
The situation continues to evolve, and all parties involved are closely monitoring the actions of North Korea.