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North Korea says it has no intention of harming the United States

The United States and South Korea have condemned Pyongyang’s announcements, but North Korea has said it is launching a satellite for "peaceful purposes."

By Elizabeth Shim
The United States and South Korea have condemned Pyongyang’s announcements, and the U.S. Navy is planning to send a nuclear-powered supercarrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, to the South Korean port city of Busan in October. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy
The United States and South Korea have condemned Pyongyang’s announcements, and the U.S. Navy is planning to send a nuclear-powered supercarrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, to the South Korean port city of Busan in October. Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy

SEOUL, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- North Korea said a rocket launch for peaceful purposes is "imminent," and Pyongyang has no intention of dropping nuclear missiles on the United States.

Hyon Gwang Il, who identified himself as the director of scientific development at North Korea's National Aeronautical Development Association, told CNN that final preparations were in progress to "develop in the shortest possible time, multifunctional, highly reliable Earth observation satellites."

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Some analysts have said North Korea's claims are a cover for a military program, because satellite and weapons launches use similar rocket technology. Analysts also have said North Korea possesses a nuclear weapon that could be placed on a missile capable of reaching the United States, but North Korean officials said Pyongyang has no intention of harming the United States.

"Why on Earth would we have any intention to drop nuclear missiles on the heads of people throughout the world, including of course the people of the United States?" Hyon said.

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North Korea is expected to launch satellites from Oct. 5-9, and the timing is to coincide with the final days before the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Workers' Party on Oct. 10. But Hyon said the launch is a "very hard and difficult procedure" and therefore targeting a specific date is not in North Korea's plans.

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The United States and South Korea have condemned Pyongyang's announcements, and the U.S. Navy is planning to send a nuclear-powered supercarrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, to the South Korean port city of Busan in October, Yonhap reported.

Also known as a "floating air base," the 104,200-ton aircraft carrier can transport about 80 fighter jets, including the E-20 airborne early-warning airplane.

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The USS Ronald Reagan and the arrival of two U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets could be a message to Pyongyang ahead of its anniversary observance.

North Korea is preparing a monumental commemoration of the anniversary, and a nuclear test could follow, depending on international response to an upcoming rocket launch.

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