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N. Korea announces ‘ICBM show’ disguised as a satellite

N. Korea announces ‘ICBM show’ disguised as a satellite

Posted May. 30, 2023 07:58,   

Updated May. 30, 2023 07:58


North Korea notified the Japanese government that it would launch a satellite between Wednesday and June 11. This move came after its April announcement of the completion of “the military reconnaissance satellite No. 1”, following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s approval of the “future action plan” on the 16th of this month. Japanese media reported that the waters where debris is expected to fall are two spots in the West Sea and one in the East Sea off the coast of the Philippines. “If North Korea goes ahead with the launch, it will have to pay the price and suffer the consequences,” the South Korean government said, urging North Korea to immediately withdraw from the launch plan.

North Korea's satellite launch is an illegal act that violates the United Nations resolution on sanctions against North Korea. It is another provocation to show off its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities. Although, North Korea asserted that it possesses the legal right to develop space by notifying Japan of its launch plan, which is the navigation area coordinator in the region, under the Worldwide Navigation Warning System (WWNWS) operated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). But North Korea lost that qualification long ago. Rockets used to launch satellites are technically identical to long-range ballistic missiles, and the UN Security Council has banned any launch using ballistic missile technology regardless of its purpose.

So far, North Korea has launched four projectiles after giving notification of the satellite launch. This upcoming launch is the first in seven years since the launch of the Kwangmyongsong Unit 4 satellite in February 2016. On May 17, North Korea also unveiled the actual “military reconnaissance satellite Unit 1.” Still, experts consider that what can be inferred from the photo with a low resolution is that it will fail to perform the function of a military satellite. Under the pretext of putting a shoddy satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit, the ICBM will be launched into the Pacific Ocean due south this time. And this will prove to be nothing short of North's intention to stage a “horror show” that adds anxiety and tension to the regional situation.

The government must thoroughly prepare for any situation arising from North Korea's satellite launch. Above all, as the North Korean projectile flies across the South Korean West Sea, measures to protect public safety must be prepared in all directions so that there is no disruption to the safe operation of ships. In addition, an all-out diplomatic war is urgently needed to ensure North Korea pays the price if it goes ahead with the launch. We must see that China and Russia do not harbor North Korea this time by ensuring tight pressure is exerted on North Korea in solidarity with the international community.

Furthermore, through the ROK-U.S. alliance and Korea-U.S.-Japan cooperation, we must conduct stern surveillance and tracking while preparing an interception posture for potential projectile debris falling into our territory. Japan has already deployed Patriot (PAC-3) interceptors on three islands in Okinawa Prefecture and issued a “destruction order” if a projectile falls. An uncompromising readiness posture is the most effective weapon to reassure the public and discourage North Korea from engaging in reckless acts.