PYONGYANG, North Korea, March 30 (UPI) -- The North Korean government said Friday it was committed to sending a satellite into Earth orbit next month using a long-range rocket.
North Korean officials in March said they were planning a long-range rocket launch in April to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the country's "eternal president." The announcement followed a pledge to halt such activity, as well as its nuclear work, in exchange for food assistance from the United States.
The North Korean government said it was ready to launch the satellite during the second week of April, South Korean news agency Yonhap reports. Kim's birthday is April 15. He died in 1994.
The Guardian newspaper in London reports North Korea launched two surface-to-ship missiles from its west coast Wednesday as world leaders gathered in Seoul for a nuclear security summit.
"The first thing Americans should do in response to the announced satellite liftoff is to think twice and readily extend gentleman-like warm congratulations to the North Koreans, as well as state their readiness to launch a satellite for a rendezvous flight in outer space," a report from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency reports.
Washington has described North Korea's plans as a provocative action. The Japanese government said it would shoot the rocket down if it crossed its territorial space.
|Additional Special Reports Stories|