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North Korea Launches Alleged 'Space Launch Vehicle' to Counter Regional Threats

Sputnik News


Japan previously warned that any launch from North Korea that violates its territory would be met with "destructive measures," with Japanese Prime Minister urging global leaders that any launch by Pyongyang is a "serious violation" to UN resolutions and a threat to Japan.

North Korea reportedly fired what is believed to be a "space launch vehicle" early Wednesday, prompting a string of sirens and emergency alerts to sound off in neighboring South Korea and Japan.

Citing South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, South Korean media reported the projectile traveled over the Yellow Sea but did not affect Seoul city, despite earlier warnings being triggered for the metropolitan area.

An early analysis of the launch indicates the projectile disappeared from radar tracking before it reached its "expected drop point," South Korea media reported, adding that the launch was conducted out of the Tongchang-ri area.

Emergency warnings calling for individuals to seek shelter had been earlier issued for residents in Japan's Okinawa region and Seoul; however, it was later reported by US media that the warning issued for Seoul had been done in "error."

Since-surfaced video footage captured sirens sounding off in both countries.

Preliminary reports suggested the launch was that of a ballistic missile before it was determined it was likely that of the "space launch vehicle" Pyongyang had earlier hinted at in response to ongoing regional threats from the US and its allies.

An unidentified source has relayed to media that officials are presently investigating the possibility that the space vehicle may have either crashed or exploded midair.

An emergency national security meeting has since been called by the South Korean government.

The launch comes after North Korea informed Japan and the International Maritime Organization on Monday that it planned to launch a reconnaissance satellite between May 31 and June 11.

Earlier, the US, Japan and South Korea held phone talks over Pyongyang's plan to put a satellite into orbit. Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada ordered to shoot down the rocket if it poses a threat to the country's territory.

© Sputnik

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