North Korea has launched what it describes as a military spy satellite towards the south, the South Korean army said on Tuesday (November 21), after Pyongyang warned Japan of an imminent launch, defying warnings from Seoul and UN resolutions prohibiting it from using ballistic missile technologies.
Japan, for its part, reported the launch of a missile by North Korea, which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned with “the greatest possible firmness”. “We have already strongly protested against North Korea”added Mr. Kishida, from his office in Tokyo.
“At the moment we are waiting to find out if there has been any damage. And even if they call it a satellite, launching something that uses ballistic missile technology is clearly a violation of UN resolutions.”highlighted the Prime Minister. “This is an important situation that affects the security of the Japanese people. We will continue to gather information and remain vigilant”he continued.
The Japanese government briefly ordered residents of the Okinawa region, southwest of the archipelago, to take shelter when the launch was announced, but the evacuation order was lifted. .
After two failures to put a military satellite into orbit last May and August, North Korea informed Japan of its intention to launch a satellite on Wednesday, according to Tokyo, thus defying warnings from Seoul and resolutions from the UN banning Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technologies.
A violation of United Nations resolutions
Any use of ballistic missile technology would violate United Nations resolutions, Fumio Kishida warned on Wednesday, adding that Japan was coordinating its response with South Korea and the United States, its partners under an agreement trilateral defense.
On Monday, the South Korean military warned North Korea to stop ” immediately “ its preparations for such an operation, warning Pyongyang that it would take “necessary measures” if applicable. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol could thus “suspend the September 19 military agreement”said Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
This agreement, reached in 2018 during a summit in Pyongyang, aimed to reduce military tensions along the highly secure inter-Korean border by creating “buffer zones” maritime. Seoul tests medium- or long-range solid-fuel ballistic missiles “are not to be excluded” neither, Mr. Yang added.
North Korea has carried out an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, despite international sanctions and warnings from the United States, South Korea and their allies.
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