North Korea said on Tuesday it had successfully placed a military spy satellite into orbit. The move comes as North Korea aims to establish a space-based surveillance system amid long-standing tensions with the United States. The launch, detected by South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, occurred from North Korea’s main space station in the northwest. Japan also confirmed the launch, news agency Associated Press reported.
The move is likely to be strongly condemned by the United States and its allies. The United Nations has banned North Korea from launching satellites, believing it to be cover for missile technology tests.
South Korea and Japan said the North Korean rocket, carrying a claimed spy satellite, flew into the Pacific Ocean over international waters off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula and over the Japanese island of Okinawa, the AP reported. 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.
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North Korea’s firing used ballistic missile technology in violation of UNSC: Japan PM Kishida
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida commented, “Even if North Korea calls it a satellite, the firing using ballistic missile technology is a clear violation of related UN Security Council resolutions. It is also a serious threat that affects people’s safety”, as quoted by AP.
Although it is unconfirmed whether the satellite entered orbit or not, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has expressed keen interest in acquiring a spy satellite to modernize military assets. The report noted that North Korea had previously attempted two satellite launches this year, but both failed due to technical problems.
The reason for the delay in the third launch was said to be North Korea’s receipt of technical assistance from Russia. North Korea and Russia, which are becoming isolated globally, are strengthening mutual relations. In September, Kim met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, sparking speculation of a possible arms deal. The reported deal involves North Korea supplying conventional weapons to Russia in exchange for help in expanding its military programs.
Russia and North Korea rejected allegations of an arms transfer deal as baseless, but said such a deal would violate a UN embargo on arms trade with North Korea.
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