Top Diplomats of Japan, U.S., South Korea Discuss North Korea Satellite Launch

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin hold a joint press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea on November 9, 2023.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The top diplomats of the United States, South Korea and Japan held a call on Friday to discuss North Korea’s recent launch of a spy satellite which they strongly condemned, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, South Korea Foreign Minister Park Jin and Japan Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko “strongly condemned the (Nov. 21) launch for its destabilizing effect on the region,” the State Department said in a statement.

North Korea said on Tuesday it had placed its first spy satellite in orbit, drawing international condemnation for violating U.N. resolutions that bar its use of technology applicable to ballistic missile programs. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the launch was an exercise of the right to self-defense.

This week’s satellite launch was North Korea’s third attempt this year after two failures and followed Kim’s rare trip to Russia in September, during which President Vladimir Putin vowed to help Pyongyang build satellites.

South Korean officials said the latest launch most likely involved Russian technical assistance under a growing partnership that has seen Pyongyang supply Russia with millions of artillery shells.

Russia and North Korea have denied arms deals but have promised deeper cooperation.

In their call on Friday, the top diplomats of Tokyo, Washington and Seoul said the international community needed to “come together to prevent (North Korea’s) procurement activities and stem the flow of revenue supporting its unlawful WMD (weapons of mass destruction) and ballistic missile programs,” according to the State Department.