SEOUL — The South Korean military indicated on Tuesday that it is challenging to forecast the timing of North Korea's upcoming launch of a military spy satellite, especially as the announced launch window is approaching its close.
According to Yonhap News Agency, spokesperson for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, although they are monitoring activities and preparations related to the launch, it is "difficult to prejudge its timing." Lee made this statement during a regular press briefing. North Korea had earlier declared that it would make a third attempt to place the Malligyong-1 reconnaissance satellite into orbit this October, following unsuccessful attempts in May and August.
When questioned about the possibility of North Korea postponing the satellite launch due to potential technology transfers from Russia, Lee responded that relevant authorities were currently evaluating that scenario, but declined to give further details. This comes a month after a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East. The summit has led to speculation concerning a possible arms deal and cooperation in space technology between the two nations.
Before the failed satellite launches in May and August, North Korea had informed Japan of a launch window to designate maritime danger zones in anticipation of potential debris.