North Korea has informed Japan of its intention to launch a rocket carrying a spy satellite between Nov. 22 and Dec. 1, according to Japan's Coast Guard. This would be the third attempt by North Korea in 2021 to place a satellite into orbit. The previous two attempts failed, with the last one taking place in August. North Korean scientists had promised to try again in October.
The announcement comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's visit to Russia's modern space launch center in September, where President Vladimir Putin offered assistance to Pyongyang in satellite development. North Korea's decision to launch the spy satellite follows its denouncement of the potential U.S. sale of missiles to Japan and South Korea, accusing it of raising tensions in the region and prompting a new arms race.
Following North Korea's notification, the Japanese prime minister's office stated that they, along with the U.S., South Korea, and other allies, would "strongly urge" North Korea to cancel the launch. North Korea's objective with the spy satellite is to monitor the movements of U.S. and South Korean troops.
North Korea's previous attempts failed due to technical problems, including instability in the engine and fuel system. The United States and its allies have condemned these tests as violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions, which prohibit North Korea from developing technology related to its ballistic missile programs.
The North Korean government considers its space and military rocket programs as a sovereign right, highlighting the importance of spy satellites in enhancing the effectiveness of its weapons. As tensions continue to heighten in the region, diplomatic efforts are underway to convince North Korea to reconsider its plans for launching the spy satellite.