N. Korea vows to continue 'space programme'

Kim Yoon-mi in Seoul/The Korea Herald
Asia News Network

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Despite UN Security Council condemnations, North Korea said it will continue launching satellites under its space programme that outsiders see as a pretext to test long-range missiles.

The North Korean Committee for Space Technology, which was behind the failed rocket launch a week ago, said North Korean "satellites for peaceful purposes will be put into space one after another," in an English-language statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency late Thursday.

The committee did not elaborate on when the next rocket launch would be.

The committee also accused the United States of seeking to strip North Korea of its right to space development with food aid, saying the move is "nothing but a foolish dream".

"Our army and people have lived without any US 'support,'" the committee said.

"We have all substantial foundations for enabling our people to fully enjoy wealth and prosperity under socialism, without tightening their belts any longer."

Earlier on Monday, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan said the North's launch of Kwangmyongsong-3 was part of the communist state's five-year space programme.

The committee said North Korean scientists and technicians have completed work to ascertain why the rocket launch failed, adding that it never acknowledged the UN Security Council's resolutions, which it called products of the enemies' evil scheme.

North Korea on Tuesday rejected the UN Security Council's presidential statement which condemned the North's rocket launch, calling it "unreasonable," and vowed to continue to exercise its right to develop space programmes.

The presidential statement, signed by all 15 members of the Security Council, stated that the Sanctions Committee would expand the list of North Korean entities subject to asset freezes and identify more proliferation-sensitive technology to be banned for transfer in and out of the reclusive state.