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N.Korea Notifies Japan of Satellite Launch as Early as Wednesday: Kyodo

North Korea has issued formal notice of a satellite launch as early as Wednesday, defying warnings from South Korea and multiple UN resolutions banning Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology.

The Kyodo news agency said Tuesday that the North had notified the Japanese coastguard of a launch window between November 22 and December 1 — despite South Korea warning Pyongyang to immediately stop preparations for what would be a third attempt to launch a spy satellite.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told government ministries and agencies to fully prepare for a possible North Korean launch, Kyodo said citing the prime minister’s office.

Earlier this month, Seoul’s spy agency said that Pyongyang was in the final stages of preparations for another effort to put a military eye in the sky.

“We sternly warn North Korea to… immediately suspend the current preparations to launch a military spy satellite,” Kang Ho-pil, chief director of operations at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday.

“If North Korea goes ahead with the launch of a military reconnaissance satellite despite our warning, our military will take necessary measures to guarantee the lives and safety of the people.”

After a failed second attempt in August, Pyongyang said it would carry out the third launch in October, though it never materialized.

The UN Security Council has adopted many resolutions calling on North Korea to halt its nuclear and ballistic missile programs since it first conducted a nuclear test in 2006.

South Korea has said Pyongyang is providing Moscow with arms in exchange for Russian space technology.

Analysts have said there is significant technological overlap between space launch capabilities and the development of ballistic missiles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested in September after a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that his nation could help Pyongyang build satellites.

Successfully putting a spy satellite into orbit would improve North Korea’s intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly over South Korea, and provide crucial data in any military conflict, experts say.

North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year, ignoring warnings from the United States, South Korea, and their allies.

Last week, it said it carried out successful ground tests of a “new type” of solid-fuel engine for its banned intermediate-range ballistic missiles, calling it a crucial step against “the grave and unstable security environment.”

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