President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visit the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., April 25, 2023.

President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visit the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., April 25, 2023. (Henry Villarama/U.S. Army)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — The U.S. State Department is calling on North Korea to cancel plans to launch its first military reconnaissance satellite, saying the act would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Space launch vehicles use technology “identical to, and interchangeable with” ballistic missiles and any North Korean launch using that technology would violate the Security Council’s resolutions, the department said in a statement Tuesday. 

“We urge [North Korea] to refrain from further unlawful activity and call on Pyongyang to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy,” the statement reads.

Since 2006, the U.N. Security Council has prohibited North Korea from nuclear weapons testing and launches using ballistic missile technology. The council adopted a resolution ordering the communist regime to “suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program” and to abandon its nuclear program.

Pyongyang will launch its first “military reconnaissance satellite” in June, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Tuesday. The satellite will provide real-time tracking of U.S. military assets and those of its allies, according to KCNA, which quoted Ri Pyong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s Central Military Commission.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense issued warnings for ships in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and the waters east of the Philippines between Wednesday and June 11, according to a news release Monday.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will intercept the missile using destroyers equipped with Aegis missile-defense systems “if the situation suddenly changes and [the] ballistic missile … flies toward our country,” according to the ministry release.

Japan will “take all possible measures to ensure the safety and security of the Japanese people,” according to a statement Sunday from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s office.

Japan joins the United States and South Korea in urging Pyongyang “to exercise restraint and refrain from conducting a launch,” the statement said.

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it “strongly warns” North Korea for threatening stability in the region with a missile launch, according to a Monday news release.

“If North Korea stubbornly pushes ahead with the launch, it will have to bear the price and pain it deserves,” the ministry’s release said.

North Korea has launched 12 ballistic missiles in nine separate days of testing so far this year. The regime’s most recent ballistic missile on April 13 flew an estimated 620 miles and prompted the Japanese government to urge residents in Hokkaido to seek shelter.

On Feb. 27, 2002, North Korea launched what KCNA reported was a reconnaissance satellite that purportedly took high-definition photos of the Earth. South Korea’s military contested the North’s claim and said the rocket was a ballistic missile that flew about 186 miles at a peak altitude of 385 miles.

Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.  

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now