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DPRK to put satellite into orbit

THE Democratic People's Republic of Korea is to test-launch a communications satellite, the official KCNA news agency quoted a space department spokesman as saying yesterday.

The satellite will be fired by the Galaxy 2 space launch vehicle from the East Sea Space Launching Base in Hwadae County, said a spokesman for the DPRK Committee of Space Technology.

The DPRK has pushed ahead with research and development on putting satellites into orbit "by its own efforts and technology since the 1980s," and achieved success when its first experimental satellite, Kwangmyongsong-1, went into orbit in August 1998, the spokesman said.

It is expected to launch satellites used for communications, prospecting for natural resources and weather forecasting over the next few years.

The DPRK recently said it had the right to develop a peaceful space program.

But there are fears the country's move could actually be to test of its longest-range missile.

Media in the United States and the Republic of Korea have reported in recent days that the DPRK was going to test-fire ballistic missile Taepodong-2, which is designed to carry a nuclear warhead that could hit US territory.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said yesterday that China hoped all parties could make more efforts to promote peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.

Asked about the reports of a test launch, Ma said China had noted the matter.

Ma said six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue, involving the DPRK, the ROK, the US, China, Japan and Russia, were moving forward.


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