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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pyongyang Vows to Go Ahead with Satellite Launch

RIA Novosti

12:10 27/03/2012

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea will not abandon plans to launch an Earth observation satellite in April, the Korean Central News Agency said.

No U.S.-led sanctions “can ever check the DPRK's economic prosperity and scientific and technological progress," KCNA said in a March 26 statement. "(The) Kwangmyongsong-3 is a satellite aiming to use space for peaceful purposes," KCNA said in a statement the day before, adding: "to use space for peaceful purposes is a legitimate right of a sovereign state."

Japan and South Korea consider the launch, scheduled for April 12-16, to be a thinly veiled long-range missile test, which is banned under UN resolutions.

Japan's Self-Defense Forces have been ordered to prepare for the possible fall of the rocket, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing Kyodo News. The SDF has started preparations to deploy ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors and Aegis-equipped destroyers carrying the sea-based Standard Missile-3 interceptors, Defense Ministry officials said, according to the report.

South Korea is also ready to destroy the North Korean missile if it violates South Korean air space, Defense Ministry spokesman Yoon Won-shik said in a statement.

North Korea maintains that the rocket's flight path will not pose a threat to neighboring countries.

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