Japan has been alerted by North Korea of its plans to launch a satellite between November 22 and December 1. Recent warnings from South Korean officials suggest that this could be North Korea’s third attempt to put a spy satellite into orbit. The coast guard of Japan stated that North Korea had sent notification of the launch towards the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.
South Korea’s National Maritime Safety Agency issued a warning to ships about the planned launch for the same areas as in previous launches earlier this year. 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 stated that Japan will work with the United States, South Korea, and others to persuade North Korea to not resume launches. According to state media KCNA, 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 the upgrade of 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.
South Korea also separately plans to launch its first reconnaissance satellite on November 30 from California with the help of the United States.