Japan has been alerted by North Korea of its plan to launch a satellite into orbit between November 22 and December 1. The Japanese coast guard stated that North Korea had sent notice of the launch towards the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea. South Korean officials believe that this could be North Korea’s third attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit, following two previous unsuccessful attempts earlier this year.
The South Korean National Maritime Safety Agency issued a warning to ships about the planned launch for the same areas as in previous launches. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the plans and announced that Japan’s defense systems were prepared for any “unexpected situation.” He also mentioned that the use of missile technology for launching a satellite is a violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Kishida said that Japan will work with the United States, South Korea, and others to persuade North Korea to not resume launches. The South Korean defense ministry stated that it is monitoring North Korea’s planned launch. Meanwhile, state media KCNA reported that strengthening military power is North Korea’s sovereign right and a response to the US-led space surveillance system. Spy satellites are seen as key to upgrading North Korean weapons. This upcoming launch will be the first since September when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited a Russian spaceport and Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to help Pyongyang build a satellite. Additionally, South Korea also separately plans to launch its first reconnaissance satellite on November 30 from California with the help of the United States.