North Korea

Kim plans to launch a rocket soon, likely carrying its second military spy satellite

This photo provided by the North Korean government supposedly shows the launch of the Malligyong-1, a military spy satellite, into orbit on Nov. 21, 2023

North Korea announced plans to launch a rocket apparently carrying its second military spy satellite during an eight-day period starting Monday, drawing quick, strong rebukes from neighbors South Korea and Japan.

The notification of the planned launch, banned under U.N. resolutions, came as South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Seoul for their first trilateral meeting in more than four years.

Japan’s coast guard said it was notified by North Korea about its planned launch of a “satellite rocket,” with a warning of caution in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and China and east of the main Philippine island of Luzon beginning yesterday through midnight June 3.

North Korea provides Japan with its launch information because Japan’s coast guard coordinates and distributes maritime safety information in East Asia.

North Korea’s planned launch is thought to be an attempt to put its second military spy satellite into orbit. South Korea’s military said Friday it detected signs of suspected preparations to launch a spy satellite at North Korea’s main Tongchangri launch facility in the northwest.

The U.N. bans North Korea from conducting any satellite launches, viewing them as covers for testing long-range missile technology. North Korea has steadfastly maintained it has the right to launch satellites and test missiles. It says spy satellites will allow it to better monitor the U.S. and South Korea’s moves and enhance the precision strike capability of its nuclear-capable missiles.

In phone talks earlier yesterday, senior diplomats from Japan, South Korea and the United States agreed to call on North Korea to abandon the launch.

Later yesterday, South Korea mobilized 20 fighter jets for a drill meant to demonstrate its resolve to punish North Korea in the event of provocation, according to South Korea’s military. Japanese officials said their missile interceptors remain ready to shoot down any debris from a North Korean rocket if it falls on Japanese territory. MDT/AP

Categories Asia-Pacific