North Korea announces launch of ‘satellite’, says Tokyo

North Korea has notified Tokyo of a satellite launch in the coming weeks, the Japanese coast guard announced on Monday, a project that should include ballistic missile launches according to the Japanese government.

Pyongyang told the Japan Coast Guard that a rocket would be launched between May 31 and June 11 and is expected to land in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and an area east of the island. told AFP.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office said on his Twitter account that he had given instructions regarding “notification of a ballistic missile launch by North Korea from what it described as a satellite”.

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

– Shoot down any ballistic missile –

The Japanese Ministry of Defense responded by ordering the Air Self-Defense Force to shoot down any ballistic missile confirmed to have fallen in domestic waters.

The Defense Ministry said that SM-3 interceptor missiles and Patriot PAC-3 missiles would be deployed for this purpose.

Kishida said, “Even if described as a satellite, a launch using ballistic missile technology would be a violation of UN security resolutions and a serious issue threatening people’s safety.”

Pyongyang has ramped up its missile attacks in recent months, some of which have triggered an emergency warning system in Japan.

Seoul and Tokyo have been trying over the past few weeks to warm their long-strained relationship, including by working together to counter military threats from North Korea.

Asked about possible talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Japanese prime minister nevertheless reiterated 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 vice foreign minister, which appears to support a friendly approach to relations with Japan, an unusual position on Pyongyang’s part.

According to Pak Sang Gil’s statement, if Japan “ceases to be deterred by the past and seeks solutions to improve relations, there is no reason for the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, editor’s note) and Japan to meet “.

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