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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Korea to Allow World to Monitor Launch

RIA Novosti

14:24 29/03/2012

MOSCOW, March 29 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea will allow foreign experts and journalists to observe the planned launch of a long-range rocket next month, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday.

"We will organize special visits... to show with transparency the peaceful, scientific and technological nature of the satellite," a spokesman for Korean Committee for Space Technology said in remarks carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

Foreign delegations will be taken to the launch pad and mission control center, the official added.

Pyongyang says the rocket will put an earth observation satellite into orbit.

The U.S. has said the launch would violate a UN Security Council resolution and constitute a missile test. Japan and South Korea have also condemned the launch.

A Pentagon official said on Wednesday the United States suspended the planned 240,000 tons of food aid to North Korea.

Peter Lavoy said the North had breached a deal agreed with the United States last month, the BBC reported.

Under the deal signed in February, Pyongyang agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, as well as nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for U.S. food aid.

But North Korean officials insisted the launch is part of a peaceful space program and said the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite will circle along the solar synchronous orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers for two years, Yonhap said.

The launch, scheduled to take place between April 12 and 16, is intended to mark the 100th birthday of the nation's late founding leader Kim Il-sung.

Japan has said it will stregthen its defences in response to the launch, and South Korea warned it may shoot down the rocket if it violates its territory.

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