SEOUL/TOKYO: Japan aims to destroy any North Korean missile that violates its territory and is making preparations to do so, its defence ministry said on Monday (May 29) after North Korea told Japan of a plan to launch a satellite between May 31 and Jun 11.
Nuclear-armed North Korea says it has completed its first military spy satellite and leader Kim Jong Un has approved final preparations for a launch to place it in orbit.
Analysts say a military satellite would enhance North Korea’s surveillance capability and improve its ability to strike targets in the event of war.
“We will take destructive measures against ballistic and other missiles that are confirmed to land in our territory,” Japan’s defence ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it would use its Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) or Patriot Missile PAC-3 to destroy a North Korean missile
North Korea has also undertaken a series of missile and weapons tests in recent months, including a new, solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea informed the Japanese coast guard of the planned launch between May 31 and Jun 11, a coast guard official told Reuters, confirming a report by public broadcaster NHK and other media.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, said any launch by North Korea, even if termed a satellite launch, affected the safety of Japanese citizens.
“The government recognises that there is a possibility that the satellite may pass through our country’s territory,” he told a press conference.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that any North Koran missile launch would be a serious violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution.
“We strongly urge North Korea to refrain from launching,” the prime minister’s office said earlier on Twitter, adding it would cooperate “with relevant countries such as the US and South Korea”.
Staunch US ally Japan would do all it could to collect and analyse information from the launch, it said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in May inspected a military satellite facility, North Korean state media KCNA reported.
North Korean media previously criticised plans by South Korea, the United States and Japan to share real-time data on its missile launches, describing the three as discussing “sinister measures” for tightening military cooperation.
Source: Channel News Asia