North Korea’s long-range rocket is on its launch platform, AFP reporters said Sunday, as the secretive regime again insisted it was to send a peaceful satellite and not a missile.
The North organised an unprecedented visit for foreign reporters to Tongchang-ri space centre in an effort to show that its Unha-3 rocket is not a disguised ballistic missile, as claimed by the United States and its allies.
Communist North Korea says it will launch the satellite for peaceful scientific research between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-Sung. His birthday is on April 15.
But Washington, Japan and South Korea have all condemned the move, saying any missile would contravene United Nations sanctions aimed at curbing North Korea’s missile programme. China, the North’s major ally, has urged restraint.