North Korea has placed a military spy satellite into orbit, in defiance of United Nations resolutions prohibiting it from using ballistic missile technology, which Tokyo and Washington have strongly condemned.
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The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said the missile, which was launched on Tuesday evening, followed the planned path and “was able to place the Malygyong-1 satellite into orbit.”
The South Korean army had previously announced that it “discovered a military surveillance satellite at 1:43 pm GMT.”
Tokyo and Washington condemned the shooting.
“Even if they launch it as a satellite, launching an object that uses ballistic missile technology is a clear violation of UN resolutions,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
He condemned the operation “as firmly as possible.”
This is “a violation of the flag of multiple Nations Security Council solutions, which increases tensions and risks destabilizing the region and its people”, also in a communication port of the National Security Council. White House.
Adrienne Watson added: “The door to diplomacy is not closed, but Pyongyang must immediately stop its provocative actions.”
South Korea responded by saying it would resume surveillance operations along the border with North Korea that were suspended in 2018 as part of a Seoul-Pyongyang agreement aimed at reducing military tensions, Yonhap News Agency reported.
North Korea had previously informed Japan of its intention to launch a satellite early on Wednesday, in a third attempt after two failures to place a military satellite into orbit last May and August.
Possible “countermeasures” from Seoul
This shot, “a few hours before the deadline was notified, seemed to confirm two things: Pyongyang’s confidence in its success and its determination to maximize the effect of surprise,” said Choi Ji-il, a professor of military studies at AFP University. Sanji University.
Seoul had been warning for weeks that Pyongyang was in the “final stages” of preparing to launch a new spy satellite.
On Monday, the South Korean military warned North Korea to stop its preparations “immediately,” warning Pyongyang that it would take “necessary measures” if necessary.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yul could therefore “suspend the military agreement signed on September 19,” Yang Moo-jin, head of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told AFP.
This agreement, concluded in 2018 in Pyongyang, aims to reduce military tensions along the highly secure border between the two Koreas by creating maritime “buffer zones.”
Tests of medium- or long-range solid-fueled ballistic missiles by Seoul “cannot be ruled out” as well, Yang added.
Seoul plans to launch its first spy satellite using a SpaceX rocket later this month.
Ri Sung-jin, a researcher at the National Aerospace Technology Administration, criticized the project as “extremely serious military provocations,” North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, reported on Tuesday.
Weapons versus space technologies
The recent rapprochement between North Korea and Russia is worrying the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan.
According to Seoul, Pyongyang is supplying weapons to Moscow in exchange for Russian space technologies.
At the beginning of November, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken denounced the “growing and dangerous” military relations between Pyongyang and Moscow, following a visit to South Korea.
North Korea conducted a record number of missile tests this year, despite international sanctions and warnings from the United States, South Korea and their allies.
It also declared that its status as a nuclear power was “irreversible.”
It announced last week that it had successfully conducted ground tests of a new type of solid-fuel engine for its banned medium-range ballistic missiles.
In response, Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have strengthened their cooperation. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson arrived Tuesday at Busan Naval Base in South Korea.
The South Korean Navy confirmed that this aims to strengthen “the allies’ position in response to nuclear and missile threats from North Korea,” as part of a recent agreement aimed at improving “regular visibility of US strategic assets.”
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