South Korea’s military says rocket is believed to be carrying a spy satellite as Japan condemns launch in ‘strongest possible terms’.
North Korea has conducted a rocket launch believed to be carrying a satellite, South Korea and Japan have said, in what would be Pyongyang’s third attempt to put a spy satellite in orbit this year.
South Korea’s military said the rocket was believed to be carrying a spy satellite and was launched toward the south.
“North Korea has fired what it claims is a military surveillance satellite in a southwards direction,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday.
Japan also confirmed the launch, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office posting on X: “North Korea has launched a suspected ballistic missile.”
Japan issued an emergency warning for residents in the southern prefecture of Okinawa to take cover but promptly lifted the warning, saying the projectile had “passed into the Pacific”.
North Korea had previously notified Japan that it planned to launch a satellite sometime between November 22 and December 1.
Japan’s Coast Guard said that the North gave notice of the launch in the direction of the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. South Korea’s state maritime safety agency issued a warning to vessels of the planned launch for the same areas as previous launches.
Speaking to reporters in his office on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the launch.
“We have already made a strong protest against North Korea, and we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms,” he said, adding that North Korea’s use of ballistic missile technology was a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
For its part, Pyongyang considers such launches part of a justified effort to build up its capabilities against US-led forces, and has said that it will develop a fleet of satellites to monitor activities by US and South Korean forces.
On Tuesday, state media outlet KCNA reported that North Korea had the “sovereign right” to develop military satellites.