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N. Korea alludes to possible long-range rocket launch

All Headlines 18:06 October 08, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Saturday pledged to venture into space more vigorously, possibly a sign of another satellite launch, which the international community denounces as a disguised test of a long-range missile.

"As one of the top-10 space powers, (North Korea) has reaffirmed its determination to open the path to conquer the vast space while securing the maximum level of transparency and in compliance of international regulations and practice," the North's ruling party newspaper Rodong Shinmun said.

The report was referring to a North Korean representative's speech delivered at the United Nations' first committee on disarmament and international security earlier in the week.

The report came amid growing signs of looming military provocations by North Korea, possibly another nuclear test or a long-range missile launch, in the coming days.

The South Korean government has predicted that Pyongyang is likely to launch military provocations shortly before or after the anniversary of the ruling party's foundation, which falls on Monday.

North Korea last conducted a long-range missile test in February, triggering the U.N. Security Council to adopt a stronger-than-ever resolution condemning the launch. But the North claimed it was a launch aimed to send an Earth observation satellite into orbit, branding it a peaceful action.

"Peaceful use of space is a sovereign right that is legal and cannot be deprived of," the North Korean report said, also vowing to step up cooperation with other countries on cosmic affairs.

The country's recent successful test of a new geostationary satellite engine has helped secure the scientific ground for developing the satellite within the duration of its five-year space development plan, the report said.

"There's no definition in the U.N. Charter of any other international laws that say weapons tests like nuclear tests or rocket launches pose threats to international peace or security," the North said, defying the international community's condemnation of its weapons tests.

In the report, the North again reaffirmed its national policy to seek nuclear armament. "(We) Will further strengthen self-defense nuclear power in terms of quantity," according to the report.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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