North Korea has announced plans to launch a satellite between November 22 and December 1, according to officials from Japan and South Korea. This is believed to be the country’s third attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit.
The Japanese coast guard and South Korea’s National Maritime Safety Agency have issued warnings to ships in the same areas as previous launches earlier this year. The Yellow Sea and East China Sea are being closely monitored by both countries.
Recent warnings from South Korean officials indicate that another attempt may be coming soon, despite North Korea’s previous unsuccessful attempts. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has condemned the plans and stated that Japan’s defense systems are 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 not to resume launches. The defense ministry of South Korea is also monitoring North Korea’s planned launch closely. It is reported that North Korea plans to have a fleet of satellites in order to monitor the movements of US and South Korean forces.
State media KCNA has stated 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 in upgrading North Korean weapons capabilities. 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 support for Pyongyang building 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.