Pyongyang confirms launch of military spy satellite in June

Japan suspects a disguised missile launch. But Pyongyang says the goal is to “address dangerous US military actions”. North Korea confirmed on Tuesday that it will launch a military spy satellite in June. Ri Pyong Chol, vice chairman of the Workers’ Party Central Military Commission, who announced the news, also accused the United States of carrying out “hostile aerial espionage activities in the Korean peninsula and its vicinity”.

Japan announced on Monday that it had been informed by North Korea of ​​an upcoming satellite launch, a project which the Japanese government said would conceal a ballistic missile launch. According to Tokyo, Pyongyang notified the Japanese Coast Guard of the rocket launch between May 31 and June 11.

A threat to the Japanese population

The projectile is expected to land in an area somewhere between the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and eastern Luzon Island in the Philippines, places generally designated for falling debris or rocket stages. “Even if it is described as a satellite, a launch using ballistic missile technology would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions” and threaten the safety of the population, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense has given the order to shoot down any ballistic missile whose fall on its land or sea territory is confirmed, specifying that it has deployed SM-3 and Patriot PAC-3 type interceptor missiles for this purpose.

Precedents

“North Korea’s alleged ‘satellite launch’ constitutes a serious violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions banning all launches using ballistic missile technology, and is a clearly illegal act that does not can be justified under any circumstances,” the South Korean Defense Ministry also said in a statement.

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North Korea has already tested ballistic missiles in 2012 and then in 2016, which it described as satellite launches and which flew over the island department of Okinawa, in southern Japan. The development of a reconnaissance satellite was among Pyongyang’s key defense projects unveiled last year by Kim Jong Un. The North Korean leader visited the workshop where the satellite is being developed on May 16, and gave the green light to his “future action plan”.

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