North Korea is preparing to launch a satellite, a Seoul newspaper said today, as outside observers warn that the nuclear-armed regime’s space programme is a fig leaf for weapons tests.
Pyongyang is under multiple UN sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests and is prohibited from carrying out any launch using ballistic missile technology including satellites.
“Through various channels, we’ve recently learned that the North has completed a new satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-5”, the Joongang Ilbo daily reported, quoting a South Korean government source.
A spokesman for the South Korean military joint chiefs of staff said there was “nothing out of ordinary at this moment” but added that Seoul was watching out for any provocative acts “including the test of a long-range missile disguised as a satellite launch”.
The report came as the North’s ruling party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reasserted the regime’s right to launch satellites and develop its space technology.
In a commentary published yesterday and titled “peaceful space programmes are sovereign countries’ legitimate rights”, the daily said Pyongyang’s satellite launches “absolutely correspond” with international laws concerning space development.
At a UN General Assembly committee meeting in October, North Korea’s deputy UN ambassador Kim In-Ryong said his country has a 2016-2020 plan to develop “practical satellites that can contribute to the economic development and improvement of the people’s living”.
He stressed North Korea’s right to produce and launch satellites “will not be changed just because the US denies it”.happy wheels
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