NEW YORK, February 5. /TASS/. Washington will use its missile defense systems to keep track of North Korea’s (DPRK) upcoming missile launch, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Thursday in a speech at the Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
The United States will position its missile defense assets to track an expected North Korean missile launch, Reuters reported Carter's words. Carter declined to comment any specific plans to move a large Sea-based X-Band radar to a different location or position Navy ships in the region ahead of the launch. He said the United States remained concerned about North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs.
According to previous media reports, North Korea is preparing to launch a combat ballistic missile of the Rodong type with a range of up to 1,300 kilometers. The reports suggested that mobile launchers with these missiles are deployed on the coast of the Sea of ··Japan (Yellow Sea).
On February 2, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) told TASS that North Korea informed the United Nations about the intention to launch an Earth observation satellite in the period between 8 and 25 February. The ITU received a letter from the DPRK Permanent Mission to the United Nations, informing that North Korea plans to launch an Earth observation satellite, spokesman for the Geneva-based ITU Sanjay Acharya told TASS. The London-based IMO has also confirmed the fact of receiving the DPRK notification. IMO has received information from the DPRK regarding the launch of an Earth observation satellite between 8 and 25 February, Natasha Brown, an IMO spokesperson, told TASS.
The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS
North Korean Posts and Telecommunications Minister Kim Kwang Chol informed the Geneva-based ITU via diplomatic channels that the satellite will be of the Kwangmyongsong (Bright Star) type and have a four-year operational life, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.
In December 2012, North Korea launched a long-range rocket that it said successfully placed an earth observation satellite into orbit. The move was then widely regarded as a violation of UN resolutions that ban Pyongyang from conducting any launch using ballistic missile technology. North Korea is apparently preparing for a long-range ballistic missile launch, according to satellite imagery analyses that emerged as the UN Security Council was discussing a resolution against Pyongyang in response to its fourth nuclear test on January 6.