South Korea said on Tuesday (Nov 21) made a third attempt to launch its first spy satellite which was successful. The previous efforts to put a spy satellite into orbit in May and August both failed, and South Korea, Japan and the United States repeatedly Pyongyang not to proceed with another launch. However, North Korea vowed to go ahead anyway, informing Japan of a launch window between Wednesday and December 1.
Seoul’s military “detected at 13.43GMT one alleged military surveillance satellite,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. Pyongyang said the launch was successful. As per the KCNA news agency, the rocket carrying the satellite blasted off from the North Phyongan province flew along its designated path and “accurately put the reconnaissance satellite ‘Malligyong-1’ on its orbit.
US, Japan condemn launch
The US and Japan strongly condemned the missile launch. The US called the launch a “brazen violation” of UN sanctions that could destabilize the region. In a statement, National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the launch raises tensions, and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region and beyond.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, meanwhile, said, “Today North Korea conducted a launch using ballistic missile technology. We’re currently analysing details, but at least one missile flew over Okinawa towards the Pacific Ocean.”
“Even if the purpose is to launch a satellite, using ballistic missile technology is a clear violation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. It is also a very serious matter that greatly concerns the safety of our people,” Prime Minister Kishida said.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and gather information. We will be in cooperation with the United States and South Korea in response to the situation,” he added.
Russia likely assisted in launch: Seoul
According to a report by the news agency Reuters, South Korean officials said on Tuesday that the launch likely incorporated technical assistance from Russia.
Tuesday’s launch was the first since North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un met Russian President Vladimir Putin at Russia’s modern space facility in September. Putin suggested that Moscow could help Pyongyang build satellites.
(With inputs from agencies)