[The following is billed as "major news" on KCNA (Korean Central News Agency), North Korea's official international news outlet. The intended launch of an "application satellite" is timed to mark the 100th anniversary of founding President Kim Il Sung's birth. The article claims that the DPRK "will strictly abide by relevant international regulations and usage concerning the launch of scientific and technological satellites for peaceful purposes" and that "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 announcement has surprised especially the USA, coming only days after an agreement was reached between the two countries that included the North Korean promise of a moratorium on missile tests. Victoria Nuland, US State Department Spokesperson, issued the following statement from Washington: “North Korea’s announcement that it plans to conduct a missile launch in direct violation of its international obligations is highly provocative. UN Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874 clearly and unequivocally prohibit North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology. Such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea’s recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches. We call on North Korea to adhere to its international obligations, including all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. We are consulting closely with our international partners on next steps.”
Considering that it was the arms race between the USA and the USSR that gave the impetus for the race into space, there is obviously a continuing (purposeful) disconnect in understanding the difference between a satellite launch and a missile test. –CanKor]
Pyongyang, March 16 (KCNA) — The DPRK is to launch a working satellite, Kwangmyongsong-3, manufactured by itself with indigenous technology to mark the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il Sung.
A spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology said this in a statement Friday.
After successfully launching two experimental satellites, DPRK scientists and technicians have steadily conducted scientific researches to develop and utilize working satellites indispensable for the country’s economic development in line with the government’s policy for space development and peaceful use.
Through the researches they have made a drastic progress in the field of space science and technology and laid solid material and technological foundations for working satellite launches and operation.
Kwangmyongsong-3, a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite, will be blasted off southward from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province between April 12 and 16, lifted by carrier rocket Unha-3.
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 DPRK will strictly abide by relevant international regulations and usage concerning the launch of scientific and technological satellites for peaceful purposes and ensure maximum transparency, thereby contributing to promoting international trust and cooperation in the field of space scientific researches and satellite launches.
The upcoming launch will greatly encourage the army and people of the DPRK in the building of a thriving nation and will offer an important occasion of putting the country’s technology of space use for peaceful purposes on a higher stage. -0-