North Korea told neighboring Japan on Monday that it plans to launch a satellite in the coming days, despite the fact that the United Nations forbids it from such activities.
The Japan Coast Guard said North Korean authorities said the launch window was between May 31 and June 11 and that the launch could affect waters in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and east of the Philippine island of Luzon.
The Japan Coast Guard issued a safety warning for ships in the area these days due to the potential danger of falling debris. The Coast Guard coordinates and disseminates maritime safety information in East Asia, which is most likely why it received the North Korean notification.
For North Korea to launch a satellite into space, it would need to use long-range missile technology, prohibited by UN Security Council resolutions. The country’s previous launches of Earth observation satellites were seen as disguised rocket tests.
Japanese Cabinet Secretary General Hirokazu Matsuno said the launch would be a violation UN resolutions and constitutes a “threat to the peace and security of Japan, the region, and the international community.”
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada instructed the Japan Self-Defense Forces to shoot down a satellite or debris if it enters Japanese territory.
Matsuno said that perhaps the satellite will enter or pass over the southwestern islands of Japan. This will include Okinawa, where the US has large military bases and thousands of soldiers.
Japan is on standby for rocket debris after launches by North Korea earlier this year. The country has also deployed missile defense systems and interceptor missiles in the southwestern region.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office said he ordered officials to gather and analyze information related to the launch to notify the Japanese.
Earlier this month, North Korean state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un inspected a completed military spy satellite at his country’s aerospace center and approved a plan to launch it.
launch notice given to Japan on Monday did not specify the type of satellite.
South Korea launched its first commercial satellite into space last week, which could give it the technology and expertise to put its first military spy satellite into orbit later this year, as well as the ability to develop more powerful missiles. According to experts, Kim would like his country to launch a spy satellite before South Korea.
North Korea launched Earth observation satellites into orbit in 2012 and 2016. It does not inform neighboring countries of planned missile launches, but has previously notified them before launching satellites.
Spy satellites are among several high-tech weapons systems that Kim has publicly pledged to develop. Others include solid-propellant ICBMs, nuclear submarines, hypersonic missiles, and multi-warhead missiles.
Since the beginning of last year, North Korea has test fired more than 100 missiles, some of which were nuclear warheads, within range of the US mainland, South Korea and Japan. North Korea claims its test is intended as a warning of an expansion of military exercises between the US and South Korea.
Last week, the South Korean and US military conducted a large-scale live-fire exercise near the border of the two countries. On Monday, North Korea warned that the US and South Korea would face unspecified consequences from their “aggressive war scenario.”
“We would like to ask them if they will be able to cope with the consequences of their reckless and dangerous military adventures played out in front of the armed forces [North Korea]”, the official Korean Central News Agency of the DPRK reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.