Photo: Anthony Wallace Agence France-Presse Customers chat at a restaurant in Seoul as a South Korean news report announces the launch of a North Korean spy satellite, Tuesday
North Korea put a military spy satellite into orbit, a challenge to UN resolutions banning it from using ballistic missile technologies, which Tokyo and Washington have strongly condemned.
The rocket which took off on Tuesday evening followed the planned trajectory “and managed to put the Malligyong-1 satellite into its orbit”, indicated the official North Korean agency KCNA.
The South Korean military previously announced that it had “detected a supposed military surveillance satellite at 1:43 p.m. GMT.”
The launch was condemned by Tokyo and Washington.
“Even if they call it a satellite, launching something that uses ballistic missile technology is clearly a violation of United Nations resolutions.” , highlighted the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida.
He condemned the operation with “the greatest possible firmness”.
This shooting is “a flagrant violation of multiple resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, increases tensions and risks destabilizing the region and beyond”, also reacted in a press release the spokesperson for 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 along the border with North Korea that were suspended in 2018 as part of a Seoul-Pyongyang deal aimed at reducing military tensions, a Yonhap News Agency reported.
North Korea had earlier informed Japan of its intention to launch a satellite potentially as early as Wednesday, in a third attempt after two failures to put a satellite into orbit. military satellite last May and August.
Probable “countermeasures” from Seoul
This shot, “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 effect of surprise”, reacted for AFP Choi Gi-il, professor in military studies at Sangji University.
Seoul had been warning for weeks that Pyongyang was in the “final stages” of preparing for a new spy satellite launch.
On Monday, the South Korean military warned North Korea to “immediately” stop its preparations, warning Pyongyang that it would take “necessary measures” if necessary.
The South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol could thus “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 highly secure 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, for its part, plans to launch its first spy satellite using a SpaceX rocket later this month.
The project was slammed as “extremely dangerous military provocations” by Ri Song Jin, a researcher at the National Aerospace Technology Administration, quoted Tuesday by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
Weapons against space technologies
North Korea's recent rapprochement with Russia worries the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies.
According to Seoul, Pyongyang supplies weapons to Moscow in exchange for Russian space technologies.
In early November, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced “growing and dangerous” military ties between Pyongyang and Moscow, following a visit to South Korea.
Korea The North has carried out a record number of missile tests this year, despite international sanctions and warnings from the United States, South Korea and their allies.
She also declared its status as a nuclear power “irreversible.”
Last week, it announced that it had successfully carried out ground tests of a “new type” of solid fuel engine for its ballistic missiles at intermediate range (IRBM) prohibited.
Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have in response strengthened their cooperation. On Tuesday, a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, arrived at the Busan naval base in South Korea.
This is to strengthen the “allies' position in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats,” as part of a recent agreement to improve “regular visibility of U.S. strategic assets,” the South Korean navy said.