North Korea on Tuesday said that it successfully placed a military spy satellite into orbit. This move comes as North Korea aims to establish a space-based surveillance system amid prolonged tensions with the United States. The launch, detected by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, occurred from North Korea’s main space center in the northwest. Japan also confirmed the launch, news agency Associated Press reported.
The move is likely to provoke strong condemnation from the United States and its allies. The United Nations prohibits North Korea from conducting satellite launches, considering them as covers for missile technology tests.
South Korea and Japan reported that the North Korean rocket, carrying the claimed spy satellite, flew above international waters off the Korean Peninsula’s west coast and over the Japanese island of Okinawa towards the Pacific Ocean, as per AP’s report. The Japanese Prime Minister’s office issued a J-Alert missile warning for Okinawa, urging residents to take shelter. South Korea’s military maintained readiness in coordination with the United States and Japan.
North Korea Firing Uses Ballistic Missile Technology In Violation Of UNSC: Japan PM Kishida
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida remarked, “Even if North Korea calls it a satellite, the firing that uses ballistic missile technology is a clear violation of related United Nations Security Council resolutions. It is also a serious threat that affects the safety of the people”, as quoted by AP.
While it remains unconfirmed if the satellite entered orbit, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has expressed a strong interest in acquiring spy satellites to modernise military assets. North Korea previously attempted two satellite launches this year, both ending in failure due to technical issues, the report mentioned.
The delay in the third launch was attributed to North Korea receiving technological assistance from Russia. North Korea and Russia, both increasingly isolated globally, have been strengthening mutual ties. In September, Kim met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, sparking speculation of a potential weapons deal. The alleged deal involves North Korea supplying conventional arms to Russia in exchange for assistance in enhancing its military programs.
Russia and North Korea dismissed accusations of an arms transfer deal as groundless, but such a deal would violate U.N. prohibition on weapons trading with North Korea.
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