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NK vows to continue space program and bolster nuke deterrence

All Headlines 21:34 July 02, 2012

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Monday it will continue its space development efforts for "peaceful purposes," repeating its stance in defiance of the international community's call for an end to any action that could ratchet up ongoing tensions.

In an interview carried in English by the (North) Korean Central News Agency, a spokesperson from North Korea's Foreign Ministry also vowed the country would strengthen its nuclear deterrence against what it calls the "hostile policy" of the United States.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket in April, claiming it was to put a satellite into orbit. South Korea and the U.S. believe it was a cover for testing the North's ballistic missile technology.

The rocket launch effectively negated a Feb. 29 deal with the U.S. under which Pyongyang would freeze nuclear and missile tests in exchange for 240,000 tons of food aid.

"The U.S. violated the independent and legitimate right of the DPRK to launch satellites and is increasing its military pressure upon it and frantically stepping up the preparations for a war against it," the spokesperson said, using the acronym for the North's official name.

"This is a vivid expression of its hostile policy towards the DPRK which clearly proved the falsity of the commitment made by the U.S. in the February 29 DPRK-U.S. Agreement that it respects the former's sovereignty and does not antagonize it," he added.

He said the U.S. is using food aid to his country for its own political purpose, adding that Pyongyang "never accepts such food motivated by a sinister political aim."

"As already clarified more than once, it will steadily push forward the space development for peaceful purposes. The DPRK will also steadily bolster up its nuclear deterrence," he noted.

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