Thu, 30 Nov 2023

Tokyo [Japan], November 21 (ANI): Japan is carrying out precautionary measures after North Korea announced plans to launch a new satellite between November 22 and December 1, with the Pyongyang government disregarding warnings from Tokyo and Seoul not to go ahead with the launch, The Japan Times reported.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's office said it had "strongly demanded" that North Korea halt preparations for the launch, with Kishida later adding that Japan was preparing for "unforeseen circumstances" and cooperating with the United States, South Korea and others.

"Even if the purpose is to launch a satellite, using ballistic missile technology is a violation of a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions," Kishida said.

"This is also a major national security concern," he said.

Attempts in May and August to launch military spy satellites failed, meaning this will be North Korea's third attempt to launch over the far-flung southern Japanese islands.

That missile launch came just ahead of a visit to Russia by leader Kim Jong Un for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reports The Japan Times.

Pyongyang is prohibited from conducting ballistic missile launches under United Nations Security Council resolutions, but has in the past said these measures do not cover its nominally civilian space program.

Japan, South Korea and the US are not convinced claiming that the launch is a veiled attempt of advancing the reclusive nations missile programme, as similar missile technology is being employed.

Since 1998, the North has attempted six satellite launches, with just two appearing to have been successfully placed in orbit, the last in 2016, reports The Japan Times.

Tokyo has deployed countermeasures in preparation for a potential shootdown of the proposed satellite. It has sent PAC-3 ground-based missile-defense batteries to Okinawa's Miyako, Ishigaki and Yonaguni islands, while also deploying Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers -- which are equipped with SM-3 interceptors -- to waters around Japan.

South Korea's chief director of its Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lt. Gen. Kang Ho-pil said that North Korea could make an attempt to launch the rocket within the week.

If North Korea goes ahead with the military reconnaissance satellite launch despite our warning, our military will come up with necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of our people," Kang said, reports The Japan Times.

The "necessary measures" that South Korea are prepared to take have not been made clear, however, the nuclear-powered USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier arrived at the South Korean naval base in the port city of Busan.

North Korea's state-run media has called the country's spy satellite program an "indispensable" measure to counter U.S. and allied space militarization.

The United States Navy's third Nimitz-class supercarrier, the third aircraft carrier to visit the country this year, demonstrates Washington and Seoul's "firm resolve to respond to advancing North Korean nuclear and missile threats", The Japan Times reports. (ANI)

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