On Tuesday, North Korea announced its plans to launch an Earth observation satellite but some think it is a covert test of banned technology for a ballistic missile.
It was announced that the rocket will be launched at Pyongyang between February 8th and 25th, between 7 am and noon. But as it is unsure if there exists an actual rocket carrying a satellite, it is feared that it is actually a ballistic missile that could strike the US territory. Civilians are warned about this so aircrafts in the area are aware of the rocket and falling debris.
After the last Japanese announcement of recent activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station of North Korea, Japan’s Kyodo News agency reported that the country notified the International Telecommunication Union that it will launch a Kwangmyongsong (Bright Star) satellite with an operational life of four years.
Farhan Haq, U.N. spokesman, said that North Korea also informed the International Civil Aviation Organization of the plans for the satellite launch. “Right now, we’re carefully monitoring developments and are in close touch with the interested parties and the international organizations,” he said.
“Right now, we’re carefully monitoring developments and are in close touch with the interested parties and the international organizations,” he said.
An anonymous South Korean official said that Seoul was also informed of the plans, and estimated that the first stage of the rocket would fall off the west coast of South Korea, more debris would land near the South’s Jeju Island, and the second stage would land off the Philippines’ east coast.
North Korea’s last long-range rocket launch of December of 2012, was the first satellite the country has succesfully put on orbit since a long string of failures. Those plans of launching were also informed to the international egencies before it was carried out. Each new rocket launch improves North Korea’s missile technology, which is crucial for its goal of developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of hitting the US.