PYONGYANG, March 20 (Itar-Tass) — Pyongyang has assessed South Korean authorities’ reaction to the DPRK’s decision to launch in April an artificial Earth satellite as another “act of treachery” for escalating confrontation with the fellow countrymen in the North. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary that, to all appearances, for the South Korean regime an “alliance with outside forces is much more important than the interests of the entire Korean nation.”
The launching of the Kwangmyongsong-3 (Bright Star) satellite, dedicated to the 100th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, will demonstrate that North Korea “has taken another major step in the development of space science and technology,” the agency says. The satellite’s putting into low-Earth orbit will “raise the prestige of the People’s Republic in the international arena,” it “will undermine the positions of the group of South Korean traitors” who pursue a hostile policy toward the DPRK.
According to KCNA, the satellite will be launched in accordance with the “legitimate right of all states to use the near-Earth space for peaceful purposes.”
North Korea officially announced the upcoming launch and sent the required notification to the relevant organisations (International Civil Aviation Organisation, International Maritime Organisation and the International Telecommunication Union). The satellite launch, KCNA stresses, “has no relation whatsoever to testing a long-range missile.” It will be carried out for research purposes “for development of the socialist state and the prosperity of the whole Korean nation.”
According to an official of the Committee for Space Technology, the satellite will be launched in the period from April 12 to 16 “for peaceful purposes.” DPRK scientists, he said, “have made major progress in space exploration, in accordance with the government policy in the sphere of peaceful exploration of outer space.” As a result, a “solid scientific and technological base for the satellite’s launch was created,” he said.
The launch will be carried from the cosmodrome in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province. The satellite will be taken into near-Earth orbit by the Unha-3 carrier rocket.
The Republic of Korea has condemned North Korea’s planned launch of the satellite as a “major provocation,” aimed at creating a long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The corresponding statement by the Secretariat of the South Korean President was issued after a meeting of the heads of security agencies and the minister of foreign Affairs and trade that was chaired by President Lee Myung-bak.