North Korea on Monday defended its push for space development as a "legitimate" exercise of its rights, sparking speculation that it may continue to stage missile provocations under the disguise of satellite launches.
The Rodong Sinmin, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, claimed that with its launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite in February last year, Pyongyang has "in earnest" entered the stage of developing application satellites.
"Our satellite launch is a legitimate exercise of the right that thoroughly fits the U.N. Charter that enshrines the basic rights of respect for sovereignty and equality, and the international law that governs the peaceful use of space," the newspaper said.
Enumerating foreign cases such as space development launches by Algeria and Venezuela, the newspaper said that space development has become a domain for international competition that involves not only a few advanced countries, but also many others.
"Our country is also in step with the trends of space development that is taking place broadly across the world," it said.
The paper went on to say that the North would continue to push for its "peaceful" space development to "help contribute to the dreams and ideals of mankind."
It has recently repeatedly mentioned its policy of peaceful space development, spawning concerns that Pyongyang could continue missile tests on the pretext of space research.
"Though the North argues for its right for space development, it could be part of efforts to build its rationale for launching long-range rockets," Cho Sung-ryul, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy, said.
Meanwhile, the North's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee criticized the U.N. Security Council's latest sanctions resolution against Pyongyang, calling it a document "led and fabricated" by the United States.
"(We) sternly reject the sanctions resolution which we define as an illegal document that does not have any legitimacy and legality," it said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency.
The statement also berated Japan and South Korea for joining the sanctions resolution, warning the confrontation's "last point" will be "escalated tensions and war."
On Friday, the Security Council passed the new resolution in response to the North's latest test of an intercontinental ballistic missile on Nov. 29. It slapped the regime with caps on its imports of refined and crude oil and blocked key sources of revenue suspected of funding the weapons programs. (Yonhap)
|This image, provided by Yonhap News TV, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Yonhap)|
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