North Korea says it's preparing to launch space program, denies preparations to test missile

Monday, February 16, 2009

North Korea has denied in a statement that the nation's military is preparing to test-fire a long range ballistic missile. The country instead says that they are preparing to launch a space program.

"One will come to know later what will be launched in the DPRK. Space development is the independent right of the DPRK and the requirement of the developing reality," said the statement according to the Korean Central News Agency.

The statement also went on to accuse the United States and other nations of "viciously tricking [the country into putting] a brake on the wheel of not only the DPRK's building of military capability for self-defense but also scientific researches for peaceful purpose under the pretext of missile," added the statement.

Earlier reports from the U.S. and South Korean government had said that N. Korea was planning a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Taepodong-2. In 2006 the country test launched the same kind of missile, but military officials in the U.S. said the missile failed.

Previous reports say that N. Korea was trying to gain the attention of the new U.S. president Barack Obama, but the country denies those claims, saying, "the DPRK has no need to draw anyone's attention and does not want anybody to interfere or meddle in the issue of the Korean Peninsula."