North Korea fires "unidentified projectile" toward Japan after spy satellite warnings

Seoul, South Korea - North Korea has fired an "unidentified projectile," South Korea's military said late Monday, hours after Pyongyang informed Japan that it was preparing to launch another spy satellite.

A missile is launched, as North Korea conducted a test firing of a tactical ballistic missile on Friday, state media KCNA said on Saturday, at an unknown location in North Korea, in a handout picture obtained by Reuters on May 18.
A missile is launched, as North Korea conducted a test firing of a tactical ballistic missile on Friday, state media KCNA said on Saturday, at an unknown location in North Korea, in a handout picture obtained by Reuters on May 18.  © via REUTERS

"North Korea has fired an unidentified projectile southwards," over the Yellow Sea, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said, after Seoul, Beijing, and Tokyo wrapped up their first trilateral summit since 2019.

Japan also confirmed the launch with the government's alert system briefly issuing an evacuation order to southern Okinawa prefecture.

"Missile launch. Missile launch. It appears a missile(s) was launched from North Korea. Please evacuate inside buildings or underground. Information received at 22:46. Target region: Okinawa."

South Korea fires shots after North's latest border incursion
North Korea South Korea fires shots after North's latest border incursion

The alert was lifted at 23:03, it is said, adding, "The missile(s) appears not to fly to Japan."

Earlier Monday, after a rare three-way summit of South Korea, Japan, and China, the leaders of Seoul and Tokyo urged North Korea to call off the satellite launch.

Nuclear-armed North Korea successfully launched its first reconnaissance satellite last November, drawing international condemnation, with the US calling it a "brazen violation" of UN sanctions.

North Korea satellite launch puts "global peace and stability" at risk

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the country's artillery weapon system and attends the test-firing of such weapons, at an unknown location, May 10.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the country's artillery weapon system and attends the test-firing of such weapons, at an unknown location, May 10.  © via REUTERS

South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol said another satellite launch – North Korea's fourth attempt – would "undermine regional and global peace and stability."

The South Korean military conducted attack formation flight and strike training on Monday to demonstrate "the strong capabilities and will of our military" after North Korea notified Japan of plans to launch a satellite by June 4.

Experts say that spy satellites could improve Pyongyang's intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly over fierce rival South Korea, and provide crucial data in any military conflict.

China assures US of no nukes in Taiwan war in secret meeting amid regional escalations
China China assures US of no nukes in Taiwan war in secret meeting amid regional escalations

Seoul has said the North received technical help from Russia for its November satellite launch in return for sending Moscow weapons for use in the war in Ukraine.

A group of Russian engineers has entered North Korea to help with the launch preparations, Yonhap reported Sunday, citing a government official.

Cover photo: via REUTERS

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