North Korea launches suspected spy satellite, says South Korea


State media KCNA reported on Tuesday that it was North Korea’s “sovereign right” to strengthen its military power against the US-led space surveillance system, and it defended Pyongyang’s military satellite development, citing a researcher at the nuclear-armed state’s space agency.

The notice drew immediate condemnation from Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who said his country’s defence systems, including the Aegis destroyers and PAC-3 air defence missiles, stood ready for any “unexpected situation” that arose.

“Even if the purpose is to launch a satellite, using ballistic missile technology is a violation of a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Kishida told reporters. “It is also a matter that greatly affects national security.”

Japan did not take steps to destroy the rocket, the Coast Guard said, citing the defence ministry.


North Korea had notified Japan, as the coordinating authority for the International Maritime Organization for those waters, of its satellite launch plans previously.

Pyongyang considers its space and military rocket programmes a sovereign right, and has said it plans a fleet of satellites to monitor moves by US and South Korean troops.

It has made multiple attempts to launch what it called “observation” satellites, two of which appeared to have successfully reached orbit.

Analysts say that spy satellites are crucial to improving the effectiveness of North Korea’s weapons.

The launch would be the first since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un toured Russia’s modern space station in September where President Vladimir Putin promised to help Pyongyang build satellites.

On Monday, South Korea’s military issued a warning demanding North Korea call off any plan to launch a satellite, describing it as an act of provocation threatening South Korean security.

It said it had done its part to comply with a 2018 agreement with the North not to engage in actions that raise regional tension while the North repeatedly violated it by launching missiles and flying drones.

South Korean officials have said they are reviewing the possibility of suspending some parts of the agreement.

After the May launch attempt, South Korea retrieved the wreckage of the satellite from the sea and said an analysis showed it had no meaningful use as a reconnaissance platform.

On Tuesday, US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson entered the South Korean port of Busan on a previously scheduled visit as part of an increased state of readiness by allies against North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats, South Korea’s navy said.

South Korea separately plans to launch its first reconnaissance satellite from California on Nov 30 with the aid of the United States.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *