North Korea plans to launch satellite between May 27 and June 4, Japan Coast Guard says

May 27, 2024 - 11:56 AM
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A North Korean flag flutters on top of the 160-metre tall tower at North Korea's propaganda village of Gijungdong, in this picture taken from Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, September 30, 2019. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo)

 North Korea has notified Japan it planned to launch a rocket carrying a satellite toward the Yellow Sea and east of Luzon Island between May 27 and June 4, the Japan Coast Guard said on Monday.

The South Korean government said later that the North had issued a notice of a military reconnaissance satellite launch. If successful, it would be Pyongyang’s second spy satellite in orbit.

The notice comes ahead of a trilateral summit meeting between Japan, South Korea and China scheduled for Monday.

Officials from the United States, Japan, and South Korea held phone talks in response to the notice and shared a view that a North Korean satellite launch using ballistic missile technology would violate U.N. resolutions, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said.

The officials agreed to demand that North Korea cancel the planned launch, the ministry said in an email.

The South Korean government said the North should call off the launch, noting that it would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions and pose a grave threat to regional security.

Its military said separately that the “so-called military reconnaissance satellite launch” would be a provocative act.

“Our military will be taking measures that show our strong capabilities and will,” Joint Chiefs of State spokesman Lee Sung-jun said at a news briefing, without elaborating.

North Korea launched its first military spy satellite in November, putting it in orbit after two earlier failed attempts in 2023.

The country claimed the satellite had taken surveillance photographs of the U.S. White House, the Pentagon and South Korean military installations, but it has not published any pictures.

North Korea has vowed to launch three more spy satellites this year.

The successful launch in November came after the leaders of North Korea and Russia met at a space launch facility in the Russian Far East, where President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would help Pyongyang build satellites.

—Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo and Jack Kim in Seoul; editing by Christina Fincher, Tomasz Janowski and Gerry Doyle