North Korea plans to stick to satellite launch, despite criticism
Other countries were "sadly mistaken" if they thought North Korea would let their criticism of its plans to launch an observation satellite force it to forgo the operation, North Korean official media commented Sunday, dpa reported.
The United States, South Korea, Japan and the United Nations have all expressed worries since the Friday announcement about the satellite plans, due to concerns that the launch could be used to secretly test ballistic missile technology.
But North Korea rejected the worries in a Sunday statement by KCNA, the state broadcaster.
"The peaceful development and use of space is a universally recognized legitimate right of a sovereign state," read the commentary. It noted that satellite launches for scientific exploration could not remain a monopoly of a few countries.
Opponents of the launch were also accused of being antagonistic towards North Korea.
Washington has said that going ahead with the launch could call into question a February 29 agreement in which North Korea agreed to a moratorium on its nuclear and long-range missile programmes and the start of international nuclear inspections, in exchange for 240,000 tons of US food aid.
The satellite launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite is set for between April 12 and 16. Its launch is to commemorate the hundredth birthday of former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, who died in December.