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IMO may adopt resolution again if NK launches satellite without notice

June 6, 2023 - 16:06 By Shin Ji-hye

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency released two photos capturing the launch of the Chollima-1 rocket carrying North Korea’s first reconnaissance satellite. (Yonhap)

The International Maritime Organization has hinted at adopting another resolution if North Korea launches a second spy satellite without notice.

Natasha Brown, IMO Press Information Service Officer, said “IMO can adopt a resolution, issue a circular, issue a decision of an IMO body as it has done in the past,” in response to Voice of America’s written query in regard to North Korea’s statement that it would not notify the IMO in advance of any satellite launches.

Official IMO documents can be classified into three categories: adopting resolutions, issuing circulars and issuing decisions. Among these, resolutions are considered the strongest recommendations to member states.

In reminding member states of their compliance obligations, she emphasized that “any hazards to maritime navigation should be communicated and warnings issued through the worldwide navigational warning service.”

As an IMO member, North Korea has an obligation to provide prior notification to the organization and relevant countries before launching missiles or satellites that could potentially impact the navigation of ships from other member nations.

Regarding North Korea's opposition to the International Maritime Organization's adoption of a resolution condemning the regime's missile launch, the IMO has stated that it will formally address the issue once North Korea's position is delivered to the board of directors.

Following North Korea's launch of a military reconnaissance satellite on May 31, the IMO adopted a resolution for the first time, condemning the missile launch. The resolution strongly condemned the missile tests, which were deemed to pose a serious threat to the safety of seafarers and international shipping.

In protest against the adoption of the resolution, North Korea expressed its intention to potentially refrain from providing advance notification even in the event of future satellite launches.

According to North Korea’s state media, the Korean Central News Agency, on Sunday, Kim Myong-chol, an international affairs analyst for the regime, issued the following article: "The International Maritime Organization reduced into a tool moving under the control of the White House.” The media said the IMO forcibly adopted a "resolution" branding North Korea’s measures for bolstering its self-defense capabilities as a "violation of the UNSC resolution" and "threat to international maritime security," pursuant to the U.S. and its vassal forces' hostile policy toward the North.

On Monday, the Ministry of Unification expressed deep disappointment when North Korea hinted at the possibility of not giving advance notice to the IMO regarding future satellite launches.

In response to a question about North Korea's announcement, ministry spokesperson Koo Byung-sam said, "I am very disappointed with the attitude of North Korea, which is gradually deviating from international norms and common sense."

“We wanted to make it clear that it will only aggravate the situation,” he said. As for whether North Korea will launch another satellite from Tongchang county, Cholsan, North Pyongan Province, he said the ministry is “monitoring related trends along with the relevant ministries.”