(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) TOKYO, Nov 21 (KUNA) -- North Korea launched what it claims to be a military spy satellite southward Tuesday, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing Seoul's military.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from the Tongchang-ri area on the North's northwest coast at around 10:43 pm (1343 GMT) and the satellite flew over waters west of the border island of Baengyeong.
The JCS gave no further details, including whether the three-stage rocket carrying the satellite separated successfully and whether the satellite was put into orbit.
According to Japan's public broadcaster NHK, it likely flew toward the Pacific Ocean, and the Japanese government issued an evacuation alert for residents in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan, of which was later lifted.
Tuesday's launch came hours before the beginning of a 10-day launch window that the North had given Japan earlier as a safety warning, saying it would fire a satellite-carrying space rocket sometime between Wednesday and Nov. 30.
The Japan Coast Guard said that North Korea has designated three maritime areas in the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the east of Luzon Island in the Philippines as danger zones in which projectile may fall. All the three areas are outside Japan's exclusive economic zone.
The latest launch came after the North's second attempt to put a satellite into orbit failed due to an engine problem in August. The first attempt failed in May due to a failure in the second stage rocket.
Seoul has expressed concerns over Pyongyang's preparations for a spy satellite launch with technological assistance from Russia following a rare summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September.
A military spy satellite is among the high-tech weapons that the North has vowed to develop to enhance its surveillance capability, which also include solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles and a nuclear-powered submarine. (end)
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