North Korea thumbs nose at missile critics
North Korea has rejected criticism of its planned long-range missile launch which threatens to upset its only major benefactor, China, and put relations with the United States back in the freezer just as they seemed to be starting to thaw.
“The peaceful development and use of space is a universally recognised legitimate right of a sovereign state,” the North’s state KCNA news agency said yesterday.
North Korea says it is using the rocket to launch a satellite to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-Sung, the country’s founding ruler and grandfather of the current ruler.
The United States, and others, say it is much the same as a ballistic missile test and therefore off-limits.
Washington, which last month agreed to supply North Korea with food in exchange for a suspension of nuclear tests, missile launches and uranium enrichment and to allow nuc-lear inspectors into the country, called the plan “highly provocative”.
More troubling perhaps for Pyongyang, Beijing called the launch a “worry” in a rare attempt to put public pressure on its impoverished ally.
Political analysts say the launch, which would violate UN resolutions, is aimed at boosting the legitimacy of its new ruler, Kim Jong-Un, who inherited power after his father Kim Jong-Il’s death in December.
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