Tokyo orders military to prepare to down DPRK satellite missile
DPRK leader Kim says the satellite launch into orbit has been greenlighted.
Japan ordered its military Saturday to prepare to shoot down a DPRK ballistic missile after Pyongyang said this week it was ready to launch its first military spy satellite.
Japan instructed its military to target and destroy a ballistic missile carrying a spy satellite that is set to be launched by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) next, as announced by Pyongyang earlier this week.
Japanese Minister Yasukazu Hamada told the country's armed forces that "there is a possibility of ordering destructive measures against ballistic missiles and others," a Defense Ministry statement said.
He ordered troops to "implement measures necessary to limit damage in the event of a ballistic missile falling."
Hamada also requested deploying naval destroyers with SM-3 anti-air missiles and units operating the Patriot PAC-3 missiles in southern Okinawa.
Pyongyang previously carried out test fires on ballistic missiles to send satellites into space in 2012 and 2016 - both of which passed over the Okinawa region.
DPRK leader Kim Jong Un announced on Tuesday that the launch will take place "at the planned date," without further details.
He also revealed that the country concluded building its first military reconnaissance satellite and that he gave the green light for its launch.
Kim gave directions on Tuesday to "make sure that the military reconnaissance satellite No. 1 completed as of April will be launched at the planned date."
The G7 foreign ministers demanded during a meeting in Japan on Tuesday that Pyongyang stop further ballistic missile tests after the East Asian countries carried out a number of test fires this year.
Nuclear tests will be received by a "robust" response, the G7 further warned the DPRK.
Seoul, Washington, and the United Nations have criticized the tests, and this week, G7 foreign ministers called for the "complete, verifiable, and irreversible abandonment of (the DPRK's) nuclear weapons."
Pyongyang said earlier this week that it has conducted another record-breaking string of launches this year, including test-firing the country's first solid-fuel ballistic missile this month -- a key technical breakthrough for the military.
'Final and irreversible'
The DPRK's status as a nuclear power is "final and irreversible," Pyongyang's Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui underlined on Friday, slamming a G7 call for the country to give up its nukes entirely.
Choe slammed the "extremely interventionist" statement, saying the G7 was "malignantly pulling up" the DPRK's "legitimate exercise of its sovereignty."
"The position of the DPRK as a world-class nuclear power is final and irreversible," the top diplomat stressed in a statement to the official KCNA.
Choe pointed out that the "G7, a closed group of a handful of egoistic countries, does not represent the just international community but serves as a political tool for ensuring the US hegemony."
"We will never seek any recognition and approval from anyone as we are satisfied with our access to the strength for a tit-for-tat strike against the US nuclear threat," she stressed.