Saying it’s for scientific purposes and to celebrate Kim Il Sung’s 100th birthday, North Korea announced today it would launch a satellite attached to a rocket next month.
The move would defy United Nations Security Council orders against nuclear and long-range weapons testing, AFP reported.
The launch is expected between April 12 and 16, a statement from the Korean Committee for Space Technology said.
“A safe flight orbit has been chosen so that carrier rocket debris to be generated during the flight would not have any impact on neighboring countries,” the statement said, according to AFP.
Furthermore, it “will greatly encourage the army and people … in the building of a thriving nation.”
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The announcement comes after North Korea agreed to suspend its long-rage weapons testing in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid, The Associated Press said.
The North also agreed to stop uranium enrichment and allow UN nuclear inspectors back into the country.
The launch would also be 3 years later, to the month, that North Korea launched a similar rocket.
This year’s launch is to test satellite technology and to celebrate the April 15 centenary of founder Kim Il Sung.
North Korea said it’s launching the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite and “putting the country's technology of space use for peaceful purposes on a higher stage,” BBC reported.
Yang Moo-Jin of Seoul's University of North Korean Studies told AFP that the announcement is intended to intimidate South Korea and the United States.
"This is another ploy to heap pressure on the United States by conducting a test-launch of a rocket which can easily be converted to weapons use," Yang said. "It also wants to show off to the world it has become a strong state with technological and military prowess as it enters a new era under Kim Jong-Un."
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The video below takes a look at North Korea's long-range rocket: