Seoul, Nov 21 (EFE).- North Korea launched a military spy satellite on Tuesday, the South Korean military said, prompting Japan to activate missile alerts in the Okinawa province and recommend people take cover.
The space rocket, carrying a spy satellite, lifted off about an hour before the scheduled start of North Korea’s 10-day launch window, given to Japan after two unsuccessful attempts earlier this year.
The South Korean military gave no further details.
North Korea had announced plans to launch a space satellite between Nov. 22 and 30.
Japan’s national anti-missile warning system, J-Alert, was triggered at 10:46 p.m. local time on Wednesday (13:46 GMT).
Authorities issued a message to Okinawa residents, cautioning them about an “apparent missile launch from North Korea” and advising them to “take cover inside a building or underground,” state broadcaster NHK reported.
But the alert was lifted about 10 minutes later.
The Japanese Coast Guard said North Korea had issued a notification identifying three maritime areas with the risk of falling debris: two east of the Korean Peninsula and another east of the Philippine island of Luzon.
The Japanese government said it planned to work with the United States and South Korea to urge Pyongyang to abandon its plans, according to NHK.
North Korea had previously attempted to place its first spy satellite into orbit in May and August, resulting in failures on both attempts due to issues with the Chollima-1 space rocket.
North Korea missed the October deadline for a new attempt. But South Korea had indicated that preparations were underway for a fresh launch, warning that “necessary measures” would be taken.
The September summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin is believed to have solidified an agreement for cooperation and trade in the military and aerospace sectors between the two countries.
Seoul and Washington suspect that North Korea has supplied artillery rounds to Russia for use in Ukraine, with the possibility of receiving technological support and advice for the recent satellite launch in return.
The sanctions imposed on the North Korean regime by the United Nations Security Council, of which Russia is a permanent member, prohibit such exchanges and the launch of space rockets by Pyongyang, considering them a covert use of technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles. EFE