South Korea and Japan have condemned North Korea for its plans to launch a satellite into orbit, with South Korea promising retaliatory action.
South Korea warned the North that it will “pay a harsh price” if it proceeds with the satellite launch, which is suspected of being a cover for launching deadly ballistic missiles, the Korean Herald reports.
Likewise, Japan’s ministry of defense said that it would shoot down any “satellite” that flew toward Japan.
The ministry also put troops on alert for dealing with a potential fallout from a missile attack.
The announcement follows North Korea’s claim last month that it had successfully detonated thermonuclear weapons. Although the claims were not confirmed, the U.S. Geological Survey detected a magnitude-5.1 tremor. South Korean officials said they suspected it was caused by an explosion.
The atomic test, as well as plans for the latest satellite launch, violated UN Security Council resolutions that ban North Korea from engaging in any ballistic activities.
“This latest announcement further underscores the need for the international community to send the North Koreans a swift, firm message … that their disregard for UN Security Council obligations will not be tolerated,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.