North Korea has informed Japan announced its intention to launch a satellite potentially as early as Wednesday, according to Tokyo, thus defying warnings from Seoul and UN resolutions banning satellite launches. Pyongyang to use ballistic missile technologies.
This new attempt, which could take place between November 22 and December 1 according to the Japanese coast guard agency, would be North Korea's third, after two failures to put a military satellite into orbit in May and in last August.
Any use of ballistic missile technology would violate United Nations resolutions, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned, adding that Japan was coordinating its response with South Korea and the United States, its partners within the framework of a trilateral defense agreement.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, November 2, 2023 in Tokyo © AFP – Kiyoshi Ota
North Korea in August designated three maritime areas likely to be affected by the planned launch at the time: two in the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean Peninsula, and a third in waters to the east. of the Philippines.
“The danger zones mentioned by North Korea this time match those announced during their planned satellite launch in August,” a South Korean official was quoted as saying. by Yonhap News Agency.
– Seoul's likely “countermeasures” –
Seoul has been warning for weeks that Pyongyang is in the “final stages” of preparing a new spy satellite launch, and South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said Sunday it could take place as soon as this week.
On Monday, the South Korean military warned North Korea to “immediately” stop its preparations for such an operation, warning Pyongyang that it would take “necessary measures ” if applicable.
< /p> South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol during the Apec summit on November 15, 2023 in San Francisco, California © AFP – ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS
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, reached in 2018 during a summit in Pyongyang, aimed to reduce military tensions along the highly secure inter-Korean border by creating maritime “buffer zones”.
Ballistic missile tests at medium or long-range solid fuel from Seoul “cannot be ruled out” either, added Mr. Yang.
The recent rapprochement of North Korea with Russia also worries the United States and its South Korean and Japanese allies.
< /p> Photo released on October 20, 2023 by the North Korean agency Kcna of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Pyongyang, October 19, 2023 © RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY – Handout
According to Seoul, Pyongyang supplies weapons to Moscow in exchange for Russian space technologies aimed at putting a military spy satellite into orbit.
In early November, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also denounced the links “growing and dangerous” military forces between Pyongyang and Moscow, following a visit to South Korea.
– American aircraft carrier –
Analysts believe that it There are significant technological similarities between space launch capabilities and the development of ballistic missiles, from which Pyongyang has been banned under multiple UN sanctions.
< /p> North Korea's missiles © AFP – Source AFP
North Korea has carried out a record number of missile tests this year, despite international sanctions and warnings from the United States United, South Korea and their allies.
It 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 missiles Intermediate-range ballistic missile weapons (IRBMs) banned, calling them a crucial step in “the serious and unstable security context.”
< /p> Undated photo released by the North Korean agency KCNA, November 15, 2023, showing a ground test of a “new type” of high-power solid fuel engine for its intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM ) in an unspecified location in North Korea © KCNA VIA KNS – STR
Seoul, Washington and Tokyo have strengthened their defense cooperation in the face of this situation. On Tuesday, an American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, arrived at the Busan naval base in South Korea.
This visit aims to strengthen 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 American strategic assets”, underlined the South Korean navy in a press release.
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