North Korea plans to launch satellite between May 27 and June 4, Japan Coast Guard says

May 26, 2024 3:06 PM EDT

TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korea has notified Japan it plans to launch a rocket carrying a satellite between May 27 and June 4, the Japan Coast Guard said on Monday, drawing a swift warning from Seoul and Tokyo not to go ahead with what they called an illegal move.

The South Korean government said later the North had issued a notice of a military reconnaissance satellite launch. If successful, it would be Pyongyang's second spy satellite in orbit.

The notice came ahead of a trilateral summit between Japan, South Korea and China in Seoul, where the South Korean and Japanese leaders demanded that the launch plan be scrapped, saying it violates U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Officials from the United States, Japan, and South Korea held phone talks in response to the notice and agreed that a North Korean satellite launch using ballistic missile technology would violate U.N. resolutions, Japan's Foreign Ministry said.

The officials agreed to demand that North Korea cancel the planned launch, the ministry said in an email.

South Korea said separately that the "so-called military reconnaissance satellite launch" would be a provocative act and a serious threat to regional security.

"Our military will be taking measures that show our strong capabilities and will," South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Lee Sung-jun said at a news briefing, without elaborating.

Later, the Joint Chiefs said about 20 aircraft, including F-35 stealth fighter jets, conducted attack drills in airspace south of the no-fly zone along the inter-Korean border.

The North Korean notice included navigational warnings for areas in the Yellow Sea and east of Luzon Island in the Philippines, the Japanese coast guard said, where stages of the rocket are planned to drop.

North Korea launched its first military spy satellite in November, putting it in orbit after two earlier failed attempts in 2023.

The country claimed the satellite had taken surveillance photographs of the U.S. White House, the Pentagon and South Korean military installations, but it has not published any pictures.

North Korea has vowed to launch three more spy satellites this year. It rejects the U.N. Security Council resolutions banning its satellite launch as infringing on its sovereign right to self defence and space exploration.

The successful launch in November came after the leaders of North Korea and Russia met at a space launch facility in the Russian Far East, where President Vladimir Putin said Moscow would help Pyongyang build satellites.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo and Jack Kim in Seoul; editing by Christina Fincher, Tomasz Janowski and Gerry Doyle)

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