North Korea has notified the Japanese coast guard of its intention to launch a satellite between Wednesday and December 1, the Japanese news agency Kyodo reported on Tuesday.
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The launch, which defies Seoul’s warnings to Pyongyang, would be a new attempt to launch a military satellite, like those that failed in May and August, according to Kyodo.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida asked his government to be ready for such a launch, Kyodo said, citing his services.
South Korea’s military on Monday warned North Korea to “immediately” stop its preparations for the launch of a spy satellite, warning Pyongyang that it would take “necessary measures” if necessary.
In early November, Seoul’s intelligence services said Pyongyang was in the final stages of preparations for its third attempt.
South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said Sunday that takeoff could take place as early as this week.
“We strongly advise North Korea… to immediately suspend ongoing preparations for the launch of a military spy satellite,” Kang Hopil, director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Monday.
“If North Korea launches a military reconnaissance satellite despite our warning, our army will take the necessary measures to guarantee the lives and safety of the population,” he added.
After a second failed attempt in August, Pyongyang announced it would carry out the third launch in October, but it did not happen.
According to Seoul, Pyongyang is supplying weapons to Moscow in exchange for Russian space technology aimed at putting a military spy satellite into orbit.
Analysts believe there is a significant technological coincidence between space launch capabilities and the development of ballistic missiles, which Pyongyang has been banned from under multiple UN sanctions.
North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year, ignoring warnings from the United States, South Korea and their allies.
Last week, it said it had successfully conducted ground tests of a “new type” of solid fuel engine for its banned intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs), calling them a crucial step in “the serious context and unstable in terms of security.
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