The Korea Herald

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Envoys condemn NK’s spy satellite launch

By Choi Si-young

Published : Nov. 22, 2023 - 15:53

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A rocket carrying what North Korea says is a military reconnaissance satellite is launched at Sohae Satellite Launching Station on Tuesday, in this photo released the next day by the North’s Korean Central News Agency. (KCNA-Yonhap) A rocket carrying what North Korea says is a military reconnaissance satellite is launched at Sohae Satellite Launching Station on Tuesday, in this photo released the next day by the North’s Korean Central News Agency. (KCNA-Yonhap)

The chief nuclear envoys for North Korea from South Korea, the US and Japan strongly condemned the regime for launching what it claims to be a spy satellite, which has now been placed into orbit according to the North.

In a phone call Wednesday, Kim Gunn -- South Korea’s special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs -- was joined by his US and Japanese counterparts in warning of action following Pyongyang’s latest provocation a day earlier. Jung H. Pak, deputy special representative under Kim’s US counterpart Sung Kim, and Hiroyuki Namazu, Japan’s director general for Asian and Oceanian affairs, took part in the call.

“The envoys agreed that they would not give in to any threats or provocations and that provocations would only bolster three-way ties,” a readout from the Foreign Ministry in Seoul said.

The group, which considers the launch a breach of UN Security Council resolutions banning all tests using ballistic missile technology, did not elaborate on measures they might roll out, as has been the case.

The group could take the matter to the most powerful UN body or choose to sanction the North individually, as Seoul did the last time Pyongyang made an unsuccessful attempt. Monday’s launch marks the third attempt after two previous failures earlier this year.

Seoul confirmed that the satellite is in orbit this time, with the Defense Ministry noting determining whether it is fully operational sending signals requires further analysis. Washington and Tokyo have yet to roll out their assessment.

For the South and the US, the launch represents a strategic challenge because they believe Russia provided technical support to the North in what they say was a deal to provide Moscow with munitions for its war in Ukraine. Russia and North Korea have denied the accusations.

Condemning the launch, the White House said it is working with allies to evaluate the event. National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement that the launch “involved technologies that are directly related to” the country’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, a weapon that the North has threatened to use against the US with nuclear warheads atop.

Sources in Seoul said South Korea, the US and Japan will hold naval drills this weekend in a show of force meant to underscore readiness against North Korea. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, currently at a port in Busan, is expected to participate in the drills.

Military officials in Seoul believe the North Korean spy satellite would be rudimentary at best. South Korea is also planning to launch its first military reconnaissance satellite on Nov. 30, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.