North Korea declares satellite launch

North Korea has declared plans to launch an Earth observation satellite on a rocket later this month.

This kind of rocket launch would cause international outrage because such tests are seen by the UN and other critics as covers for banned long-range missile tests meant to further North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

An official at the London-based International Maritime Organisation said North Korea declared an Earth observation satellite launch would be conducted between February 8 and 25.

Japan’s Kyodo News agency reported that North Korea also notified the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union “via diplomatic channels” of the launch later this month.

The declaration follows North Korea’s claim last month to have tested a hydrogen bomb, the country’s fourth nuclear test.

North Korea’s last long-range rocket launch, in December 2012, successfully put its first satellite into orbit after several attempts.

Each new rocket launch improves North Korea’s missile technology, which is crucial for it to develop a nuclear-armed missile capable of hitting the US mainland.


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