Pyongyang: North Korea is set to complete
the assembly of its latest rocket by installing the satellite payload later Tuesday, a senior space official said.
"We are expecting to complete assembly by today," Ryu Kum-Chol, deputy director of the space development department
at the communist state`s Committee for Space Technology, told
foreign journalists in Pyongyang.
Ryu also insisted that debris from the launch, which is
scheduled between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th
anniversary of the birth of North Korea`s founding leader,
posed no danger to countries in the region.
"We`ve chosen a safe trajectory. The first stage will
fall 100 miles (160 kilometres) from land (in the
Philippines), and the second stage 120 miles from land," he
But in case of any problem with the trajectory, the
official said that the rocket was "capable of
self-destruction" from ground control.
Impoverished but nuclear-armed North Korea says the
rocket will propel the 100-kilogram (220-pound)
Kwangmyongsong-3 (Shining Star) satellite into orbit to
collect data on forests and natural resources within its
However, the United States and other nations say the
rocket launch is a pretext for a ballistic missile test, in
defiance of United Nations resolutions and a US-North Korean
deal concluded just in February.
Russia joined the international condemnation today,
saying the rocket launch showed disregard for UN Security
Council resolutions on North Korea`s nuclear and weapons