North Korea said it will continue to launch satellites for “peaceful purposes” despite the failure of a recent long-range test launch and in defiance of global condemnation of the country’s program.
According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s state-controlled news service, a spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology (KCST) said: “To launch satellites is the DPRK's [North Korea’s] legitimate right to independence and it is an exercise of sovereignty… the use of space for peaceful purposes shall be the right of all countries. Accordingly, the U.S. or any other existing satellite launchers are not entitled to interfere in the DPRK's satellite launch for peaceful purpose.”
The KCST added that Pyongyang is committed to expanding its space technology in order to insure the country’s future economic development, noting that satellites will be “put into space one after another.”
The statement also condemned the “U.S. and Japanese reactionaries” who oppose North Korea’s satellite program, as well as South Korean president Lee Myung Bank, whom they described as a “special class stooge” and a “traitor” to Koreans.
South Korea, Japan, the United Nations and the U.S. believe that North Korea intends to develop ballistic missile tests and have roundly condemned Pyongyang’s program. The UN Security Council said it will tighten sanctions against North Korea, while the U.S. has cancelled a prior agreement to provide food aid to the poverty-stricken isolated country in exchange for Pyongyang agreeing to suspend its uranium enrichment program and place a moratorium on nuclear and long-range tests.
The KCNA statement asserted that its test launch did not violate the terms of North Korea’s February agreement with the U.S, nor was such an act a violation of UN resolutions.
Separately, South Korea has requested that China confirm claims that the missile launcher publicly unveiled by North Korea last weekend was manufactured by the Chinese – an act which could represent a violation of UN sanctions against North Korea.
The Yonhap news agency of South Korea noted that during a massive military parade in Pyongyang last weekend, the North Koreans displayed a new long-range ballistic missile that was carried on a 16-wheel transporter-erector-launcher -- the vehicle appeared to be of Chinese origin,
We are asking the Chinese side to verify the claims with regard to the North Korean truck launcher through a diplomatic channel, a source at Seoul’s foreign ministry told Yonhap.
China had denied any wrongdoing on its part.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.