North Korea has put a military spy satellite into orbit, a defiance of UN resolutions banning it from using ballistic missile technology, which Tokyo and Washington have strongly condemned.
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The rocket that took off on Tuesday evening followed the planned trajectory “and succeeded in putting the Malligyong-1 satellite into orbit,” North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said.
South Korea’s military previously announced that it had “detected a suspected military surveillance satellite at 13:43 GMT.”
The shot was condemned by Tokyo and Washington.
“Even if they call it a satellite, launching an object that uses ballistic missile technology is clearly a violation of United Nations resolutions,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
He has condemned the operation “in the strongest possible terms”.
This shooting is “a flagrant violation of multiple resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations, increases tensions and risks destabilizing the region and beyond”, also reacted in a statement the spokesman of the National Security Council of the White House
“The door to diplomacy is not closed, but Pyongyang must immediately stop its provocative actions,” added Adrienne Watson.
South Korea responded by saying it would resume surveillance operations on its border with North Korea that were suspended in 2018 as part of a deal between Seoul and Pyongyang aimed at reducing military tensions, Yonhap news agency reported .
North Korea had previously informed Japan of its intention to launch a satellite potentially as early as Wednesday, in a third attempt after two failures to put a military satellite into orbit last May and August.
Probably “countermeasures” from Seoul
This photograph, “a few hours before the notification of the time window, seems to underline two things: Pyongyang’s confidence in its success and its intention to maximize the surprise effect,” Choi Gi reacted to AFP -il, professor of military studies at the AFP. Sangji University.
Seoul had warned for weeks that Pyongyang was in the “final stages” of preparing a new spy satellite launch.
On Monday, the South Korean military warned North Korea to “immediately” halt its preparations, warning Pyongyang that it would take “necessary measures” if necessary.
Thus, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol could “suspend the September 19 military agreement,” Yang Moo-jin, president 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 high-security inter-Korean border by creating maritime “buffer zones”.
Tests of medium- or long-range solid-fuel ballistic missiles by Seoul “cannot be ruled out either,” Yang added.
Seoul plans to launch its first spy satellite on a SpaceX rocket later this month.
That project was criticized as “extremely dangerous military provocations” by Ri Song Jin, a researcher at the National Aerospace Technology Administration, quoted by the North’s official news agency, the Korean Central News Agency, on Tuesday.
Weapons versus space technologies
North Korea’s recent rapprochement with Russia worries the United States and its allies South Korea and Japan.
According to Seoul, Pyongyang supplies weapons to Moscow in exchange for Russian space technologies.
At the beginning of November, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the “growing and dangerous” military ties between Pyongyang and Moscow, after a visit to South Korea.
North Korea has 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 its status as an “irreversible” nuclear power.
Last week, it announced that it had successfully conducted ground tests of a “new type” of solid-fuel engine for its banned intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs).
Seoul, Washington and Tokyo, in response, have strengthened their cooperation. On Tuesday, a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, arrived at the naval base in Busan, South Korea.
It is about strengthening the “position of allies in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats”, as part of a recent agreement aimed at improving the “regular visibility of US strategic assets”, he stressed the Navy of South Korea.