Sunday, March 18, 2012
News Update on NK Satellite launch
Seoul concludes N. Korea's satellite launch a clear violation of UNSC resolution
South Korea has concluded that North Korea's satellite launch slated for between April 12-16 constitutes a direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSC) 1874 banning ballistic missile technology, a government source said Sunday.
The resolution unanimously adopted by the UNSC on June 12, 2009 in the aftermath of North Korea's underground nuclear test conducted on May 25, 2009 imposes further economic and commercial sanctions on the North and encourages U.N. member states to search North Korean cargo. Specifically, the resolution, also approved by Russia and China, bans "any launch using ballistic missile technology."
Pyongyang announced Friday that Unha-3 rocket carrying earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 will blast off from its satellite launching station in North Pyongan Province between April 12 and 16, while noting that the launch of a satellite built by indigenous technology is designed "to mark the 100th birth anniversary of late President Kim Il-sung," the country's founder and the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.
N. Korea defends its planned satellite launch
North Korea claimed Sunday that its planned launch of an earth observation satellite next month is the sovereign right of the communist country, refuting accusations it is an attempt to disguise a missile test.
In a commentary carried by the North's state news agency, Pyongyang said that hostile forces including South Korea, the United States and Japan denounced the scheduled launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite on the Unha-3 space rocket as a missile test. Such accusations are an extension of the hostile positions these countries have taken toward North Korea and aim to deny Pyongyang's rights and undermine the regime, the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
"The peaceful development and use of space is a universally recognized legitimate right of a sovereign state," the KCNA said. "Satellite launches for scientific research and use of space for economic development can no longer be monopolized by a few countries."
The report comes two days after the North's Korean Committee for Space Technology said the satellite and rocket will blast off from a launch station in North Pyongan Province between April 12 and 16. The announcement was made just after the country agreed to freeze missile and nuclear tests in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid from Washington. The media outlet said that the Kwangmyongsong-3 is the result of scientific research conducted by scientists and technicians in the DPRK. The DPRK stands for the North's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
It said that two previous launches of experimental satellites carried out by North Korea strictly abided by relevant international regulations and practices. The communist country pointed out that it will invite experts and journalists from other countries to view the launch station. The decision to launch the satellite into orbit has drawn attacks from the international community as it sees the Unha-3 as a powerful missile that can carry a warhead long distances. The United States said last week that it will be hard to provide food aid if Pyongyang moves ahead with the launch.
N. Korea says will invite foreign experts to observe satellite launch
North Korea said Saturday it will invite a group of foreign experts and journalists to observe its launch of earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-3 next month. "The Korean Committee for Space Technology will invite experienced foreign experts on space science and technology and journalists to visit the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, the General Satellite Control and Command Center and other places and observe its launch," the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a brief dispatch from Pyongyang. "The relevant bodies of the DPRK sent necessary information to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the International Telecommunication Union and others according to international regulations and procedures as part of the preparations for the launch of Kwangmyongsong-3," said the KCNA.
Earlier on Friday, North Korea announced that Unha-3 rocket carrying Kwangmyongsong-3 will blast off from its satellite launching station in North Pyongan Province between April 12 and 16, while noting that the launch of a satellite built by indigenous technology is designed "to mark the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il-sung," the country's founder and the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. The KCNA also carried separate reports on festive mood among people from all walks of life. Kim Jong-su, vice minister of Physical Culture and Sports, was quoted as saying,"The news makes me feel pride in living as a citizen of Kim Il-sung's nation and Kim Jong-il's Korea."
U.S. says food aid 'hard to imagine' if N.K. launches satellite
The U.S. State Department said Friday it will be "very hard to imagine" giving planned food aid to North Korea if the communist regime goes ahead with its plan to launch a satellite, a move seen as a disguise for a missile test. "Were we to have a launch, it would create, obviously, tensions," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing. "And that would make the implementation of any kind of a nutritional agreement quite difficult." North Korea said earlier in the day that it will launch an earth observation satellite aboard a long-range rocket next month. The announcement came just weeks after Pyongyang agreed to temporarily put a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests and freeze its uranium-enrichment facilities in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid from the U.S.
"If they were to go forward with this launch, it's very hard to imagine how we would be able to move forward with a regime whose word we have no confidence in and who has egregiously violated its international commitments," Nuland said, referring to United Nations Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from using its ballistic missile program. The North's Korean Committee for Space Technology said Unha-3 rocket carrying Kwangmyongsong-3 will blast off from its satellite launching station in North Pyongan Province between April 12 and 16 "to mark the 100th birth anniversary of President Kim Il-sung," the country's founder and the late grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un. The launch date is set around the late founder's April 15 birthday, one of the most important holidays in the isolated country. The North, one of the poorest countries in the world, has vowed to usher in a prosperous and powerful nation by the milestone anniversary.
At the Pentagon, spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said the launch would be considered "destabilizing behavior" and called on Pyongyang to abide by its obligations under the U.N. resolutions.
He also stressed Washington's commitment to its alliance with Seoul. "We continue to operate every day with our South Korean counterparts and we hold firmly to our alliance obligations and to security on the Korean Peninsula. That's not going to change." About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea as a deterrent to North Korea, as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended in a truce. Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement urging North Korea to "reconsider its decision in line with its recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches." The statement, attributed to Ban's spokesperson, said the secretary-general is "seriously concerned" by the North's announcement.
Source: Yonhap News