N. Korea to Launch Long-Range Rocket

Move threatens agreement only 2 weeks old

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 16, 2012 6:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – Even by North Korean standards, this is an impressive renege. Just two weeks after agreeing to stop uranium enrichment and all nuclear and long-range missile testing in exchange for food aid, Pyongyang has announced it will launch a long-range missile next month. The North says it is just launching an observation satellite into orbit, which is exempt from international disarmament agreements, but South Korea and the US say the launch is just a cover for developing and testing intercontinental ballistic missiles, reports the AP.

The launch date is set for close to April 15, the birthday of North Korea's late founder Kim Il Sung and one of the biggest holidays of the year in the North. This April's birthday holds even more importance because it is 100 years since Kim's birth. Despite the North's claims of peaceful intent, previous long-range missile tests, in 2006 and 2009, were censured by the UN Security Council, notes the New York Times. “This will be a clear violation” of a Security Council resolution, said a spokesman for South Korea's foreign ministry. “It will constitute a highly provocative action.”

In this April 5, 2009, image made from KRT video, a rocket is lifted off from its launch pad in Musudan-ri, North Korea.   (AP Photo/KRT TV, File)
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