North Korea announces “satellite” launch, Tokyo fears ballistic missile launch

North Korea has notified Tokyo of a satellite launch in the coming weeks, the Japanese Coast Guard said on Monday, a project the Japanese government says should however involve ballistic missile firing.

Pyongyang told the Japan Coast Guard that a rocket would be launched between May 31 and June 11 and was expected to land in an area near the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and east of the island. from Luzon in the Philippines, a coast guard spokesman told AFP.

Prime’s office Japanese Minister Fumio Kishida for his part declared on his Twitter account that he had given instructions regarding “North Korea’s notification of the launch of a ballistic missile which it describes as a satellite”.

Fumio Kishida ordered relevant ministries and agencies to cooperate in gathering intelligence, while calling for vigilance and cooperation with Japan’s allies, including the United States and South Korea, according to the tweet.

“A serious problem threatening the safety of people”

THE Japanese Ministry of Defense reacted by ordering the Air Self-Defense Force to shoot down any ballistic missile confirmed to have fallen in national waters. SM-3 interceptor missiles and Patriot PAC-3 missiles will be deployed for this purpose, the Ministry of Defense said.

“Even if described as a satellite, a launch using ballistic missile technology would constitute a violation of United Nations security resolutions and a serious issue threatening the safety of people,” Fumio Kishida said.

Pyongyang has intensified in recent months its missile fire, some of which have triggered emergency alert systems in Japan. Seoul and Tokyo have been trying to warm up long-strained relations for the past few weeks, including by working together more in the face of North Korea’s military threats.

VIDEO. North Korea’s missile launches: Pyongyang takes advantage of the “trivialization” of its tests

Asked about possible negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Japanese Prime Minister nevertheless repeated on Monday that Tokyo was open to discussions, adding that he wanted to make “concrete progress”.

North Korea’s official KCNA news agency published a statement by North Korea’s deputy foreign minister appearing to endorse a conciliatory approach to relations with Japan, an unusual position on the part of Pyongyang. If Japan avoids being “hindered by the past and seeks a solution to improve relations, there is no reason for the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, editor’s note) and Japan not to meet”, according to Pak Sang Gil’s statement.

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