Washington: The US on Friday slammed as "highly
provocative" North Korea`s plan to launch a long-range rocket
next month to put a satellite into orbit, in violation of its
"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," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
North Korea today announced plans to launch an "earth
observation" satellite using a carrier rocket between April 12
and 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding
leader Kim Il-sung, the state-run Korean Central News Agency
Previous satellite launches by the reclusive North Korean
regime have been widely viewed as ballistic missile test
launches in disguise.
The last time Pyongyang carried out what it described as
a satellite launch, in April 2009, the UN Security Council
condemned the action, saying it breached a resolution
forbidding North Korea from conducting "missile-related
The Security Council demanded that North Korea not
conduct further launches.
The satellite, named Kwangmyongsong-3, will be "blasted
off southward" from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in
the western province of North Phyongan, the KCNA report 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," it said.
The centenary of Kim Il Sung`s birth is a huge event in
the North Korean calendar and takes place after the death of
his son, Kim Jong-il, in December. Kim Jong-il was succeeded
as the "supreme leader" of the secretive state by his youngest
son, Kim Jong-un.
Pyongyang`s announcement could also threaten a deal
struck last month with the United States in which Pyongyang
agreed to halt nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and
enrichment activities in exchange for food aid.