N. Korea awaits international response to S. Korea rocket launch

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North Korea said on Monday it will closely watch the international reaction on South Korea's planned launch of a carrier rocket with a satellite on board following criticism of a similar launch conducted by Pyongyang.

MOSCOW, August 10 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea said on Monday it will closely watch the international reaction on South Korea's planned launch of a carrier rocket with a satellite on board following criticism of a similar launch conducted by Pyongyang.

South Korea is planning to launch its first carrier rocket with a small research satellite from the Naro Space Center sometime between August 14 and August 18.

"We will closely watch how members of six-party nuclear talks would respond at the UN Security Council to South Korea's launch," the official Korean Central News Agency cited a Foreign Ministry's statement.

Following a nuclear test in October 2006, a Security Council resolution banned North Korea from any further nuclear tests or ballistic missile launches. South Korea is under no such injunction.

North Korea launched a multistage rocket on April 5 that it said was carrying a communications satellite, defying pressure from the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries, which suspect the launch was a cover for the test of a Taepodong-2 long-range missile.

There is little difference between a carrier rocket and a ballistic missile, and the UN Security Council condemned the April launch and threatened the reclusive communist regime with new sanctions.

Pyongyang said the criticism of its satellite launch was "not fair" and contradicted the norms of democracy as the organization has not taken any measures against other countries that have launched hundreds of satellites.

North Korea later withdrew from six-party nuclear talks, which involve both Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States, expelled IAEA and U.S. nuclear inspectors involved in monitoring the country's nuclear disablement progress, and conducted an underground nuclear test in May.

The response of the participants in the six-party nuclear talks on the launch of a South Korean rocket "will once again clearly prove whether the principle of equality exists or has collapsed," North Korea's Foreign Ministry said.

South Korea began its space program in 1996.

If the launch of the KSLV-1 (Korea Space Launch Vehicle), built in cooperation with Russia, is successful, South Korea will become a member of the so-called "space club," whose members have developed their own rockets and satellites and sent them into space from a launch facility on their own soil.

 

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