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August 11, 2009

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N Korea to monitor launch response

NORTH Korea said yesterday it will closely watch the international response to South Korea's planned satellite launch after Pyongyang was brought before the United Nations Security Council for what it said was a similar move.

South Korea is aiming to launch a satellite into space from its own soil for the first time as early as next week.

North Korea said its April rocket launch carried a satellite and was part of its peaceful space program.

However, the United States and other countries said that was a cover story by the country, and it actually tested advanced missile technology that violated UN sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

The Security Council then slapped new sanctions on three North Korean companies after the launch.

North Korea, in response, quit nuclear disarmament talks with the US, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia, arguing the sanctions violated the talks' principle of respect for sovereignty and equality.

Yesterday, North Korea's Foreign Ministry said it "will closely watch" how members of six-party nuclear talks respond to South Korea's launch, because that "will once again clearly prove whether the principle of equality exists or has collapsed."

A ministry statement - carried by the official Korean Central News Agency - did not say what action North Korea would take if South Korea's launch was not referred to the Security Council.

Kim Bo-hyun, a spokesman at the South Korea's Science Ministry, said its satellite launch was for peaceful purposes and its plan has been transparent.


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