SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's development of a high-thrust engine capable of carrying a rocket has provided a "sure guarantee" for the country to launch various satellites into orbit, according to state media Monday.
Pak Kyong-su, vice director of the National Aerospace Development Administration, made the remarks amid speculation the North is likely to put a military spy satellite into orbit by April.
In an interview by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Sunday on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the North's accession to the international outer space treaty, Pak said the North has made "steady" progress in the work to develop "multi-functional and high-performance" satellites.
"It succeeded in developing high-thrust engine for carrier rocket and thus provided a sure guarantee for launching various kinds of satellites into relevant orbits," Pak said in an English-language dispatch carried by the KCNA.
He said the North has applied its space science technology to various areas, including agriculture, meteorological observation communication and natural resources exploration.
"All these successes foretell the bright future of the DPRK's space development," the official said, using the acronym of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
In December last year, North Korea said it had tested a high-thrust solid-fuel rocket engine for a "new-type strategic weapon system," a move seen as developing a solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
On Dec. 18, Pyongyang fired a vehicle carrying a "test-piece" satellite at its Tongchang-ri rocket launching facility during its "final-stage" test to develop a military reconnaissance satellite. The country unveiled a plan the same day to put a military spy satellite into orbit by April.
(Asiad) S. Korea blank China to reach men's football semifinals
(LEAD) (Asiad) S. Korea takes 2 silvers in roller skating relays
N. Korea slams IAEA's adoption of resolution on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program
(Asiad) No time to celebrate for S. Korean goal scorer after win over China in men's football quarters
(Asiad) Distraught roller skater apologizes for costly premature celebration
N. Korea stipulates nuclear force-building policy in constitution
5 years after signing, future of inter-Korean military accord unclear
Kim-Putin summit highlights strategic push to expand cooperation
In desperation, N. Korea, Russia turn to one another for mutual assistance rivaling U.S.-S. Korea cooperation
N. Korea probably sees technical advance in spy satellite launch despite botched 2nd attempt