SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Tuesday made what appears to be its third attempt to launch its first spy satellite into orbit, South Korea and Japan said.
The launch of a possible ballistic missile toward the south prompted Japan to briefly issue an advisory in the southern prefecture of Okinawa, urging residents to stay indoors or underground. In an article on
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff also said North Korea had fired what is believed to be a spy satellite toward the South.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the launch and said no damage had been confirmed so far.
“Even though what they launched was supposed to be a satellite, the use of ballistic missile technology is a blatant violation of relevant United Nations resolutions,” he said. “This is also a serious issue that could affect the safety of our country’s citizens.”
North Korea previously told Japan it planned to launch the satellite between Wednesday and December 1. She said a spy satellite was needed to monitor U.S. and South Korean military movements.
Two previous launch attempts by the nuclear-armed state failed in May and August. South Korea’s military said in July that debris recovered from the satellite and the rocket used to launch it in May indicated they had “no military use.”
North Korea’s KCNA news agency reported Tuesday that North Korea has a “sovereign right” to strengthen its military power against the U.S.-led space surveillance network, citing an agency researcher North Korean space.
South Korea on Monday warned North Korea not to carry out the latest satellite launch, suggesting it could threaten the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement aimed at reducing tensions along the border.
South Korea also aims to launch its first spy satellite into orbit by the end of the month, as both countries work to develop their military capabilities in space.
South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik told local media last week that the military plans to launch its first domestically-built reconnaissance satellite on Nov. 30 as part of a project to place five such satellites in space by the end of 2025.
Stella Kim reported from Seoul, Arata Yamamoto from Tokyo and Jennifer Jett from Hong Kong.
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