DPRK promises more satellite launches

North Korea says it will continue to conduct satellite launches despite the protests of other countries.

The pledge was made in a statement by the country’s foreign ministry, which was carried by the Korea Central News Agency and Voice of Korea radio (below) and doesn’t come as a surprise.

The statement reiterates North Korea’s assertion that its launches are for “peaceful purposes” and promises that future launches will include a geostationary satellite.

A geostationary satellite maintains an orbit above the equator so that it doesn’t appear to change position when viewed from Earth. Communications satellites, like those used to beam TV to the home, and some weather satellites have such an orbit.

Here’s the report broadcast in the English program of Voice of Korea, the DPRK’s international radio service.


Secondly, we will continue exercising the independent right to use space recognized by the universally accepted international laws which are above the UNSC resolutions.

We will expand and strengthen space development institutions and continue launching a variety of working satellites needed for economic development of the country including geostationary satellites under the state plan for space development.

Nothing can stand in the way of the DPRK’s space development for peaceful purposes. — KCNA, April 17, 2012.

The reports didn’t saw when the next launch would be. It took the country three years to move past the launch failure of April 2009 to its most recent launch attempt. Scientists will want to develop a clearer understanding of why the rocket failed — apparently around the point when the second stage engines were due to take over flight — before attempting another launch.

The statement also rejects the February 29th “leap-day agreement” under which the DPRK was due to receive food aid from the U.S.

As expected, the North Korean government pins blame for breaking the agreement on the United States:

Thirdly, as the U.S. violated the Feb. 29 DPRK-U.S. agreement through its undisguised hostile acts, we will no longer be bound to it. — KCNA, April 17, 2012.

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