Pyongyang: North Korea has informed Japan of a satellite that it plans to launch in coming weeks, a Japanese coast guard official said on Monday.
What do we know about the launch?
The satellite launch which will take place between May 31 and June 11, as per Pyongyang's notification, is being speculated to be an attempt by North Korea to install a military reconnaissance satellite into orbit.
Experts believe that the launch of the military satellite is North Korea's attempt to boost its surveillance and attack its enemy with more precision if conflict breaks out.
Earlier this month, North Korea had said that it has completed work on its first spy satellite and it is now ready for launch.
The notice from North Korean waterway authorities informed Japan's coast guard that the rocket could affect the waters in the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and east of the Philippines' Luzon Island.
Japan and South Korea warn against launch
Japan believes that Pyongyang will fire a ballistic missile.
The Japanese prime minister's office tweeted that PM Fumio Kishida issued instructions "on North Korea's notification about the launch of a ballistic missile that it describes as a satellite."
Japan urged North Korea to refrain from the launch.
"Any missile launch by North Korea, even if called a satellite, is a serious violation of UN Security Council resolutions," Kishida told journalists.
The prime minister's office said that it would cooperate "with relevant countries such as the US and South Korea." It has instructed officials to keep monitoring the situation and gather and analyze information related to the launch.
Japan's defense minister Yasukazu Hamada has ordered the Self Defense Force to shoot down the satellite or debris, if any entered the Japanese territory.
Japan has already been on standby for falling debris from North Korea's launches. It has deployed defense systems in Southwestern Japan.
South Korea has warned North Korea of consequences if it goes ahead with the launch plan and violates the UN resolution.
"Our government strongly warns North Korea against a provocation that threatens peace in the region and urges it to withdraw its illegal launch plan immediately," a statement from South Korea said.