South Korea, Japan and North Korea reported that on Tuesday, North Korea appeared to have launched its first spy satellite in orbit for the third time.
In Okinawa’s southern prefecture, Japan issued a brief advisory to residents telling them to stay inside or below ground. The prime minister’s Office posted on X that the missile had “passed” into the Pacific Ocean at around 10:55 p.m. The advisory has been lifted.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff of South Korea also claimed that North Korea fired what they believed was a spy satellite towards the south.
The Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishhida has condemned the launch, saying that no damage has been confirmed to date.
He said that even if the launch was of a satellite disguised as a ballistic missile, it is still a violation of relevant United Nations Resolutions. It is a serious matter that could threaten the safety of citizens in our country.
North Korea told Japan earlier that it planned on launching the satellite between December 1 and Wednesday. It said that a spy satellite was necessary to monitor U.S. military movements and those of South Korea.
The two previous launch attempts of the nuclear-armed nation failed in May, and August. In July, the South Korean military claimed that the wreckage recovered from the satellite in May and the rocket that launched it indicated that had “no utility for military purposes.”
KCNA, North Korea’s state-run news agency, reported on Tuesday that North Korea has a “sovereign rights” to increase its military power in order to counter the U.S. space surveillance network. The report was based on a researcher from the North Korean Space Agency.
South Korea warned North Korea Monday against launching the latest satellite, claiming that this could undermine the 2018 inter-Korean agreement to reduce tensions on the border.
South Korea also plans to launch its spy satellite in orbit by the month’s end, as both countries compete to improve their military capabilities.
Last week, South Korean Defense minister Shin Won Sik informed the local media that the military planned to launch the first reconnaissance satellite built in South Korea on November 30 as part a project to put five of these satellites into orbit by the end 2025.
Stella Kim reported on the news from Seoul. Arata Yamamoto reported from Tokyo. Jennifer Jett reported from Hong Kong.