After weeks of preparation, as well as warnings and condemnation from the international community, North Korea is ready to launch a long-range rocket.
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North Korea announced today that it was ready to go ahead with a long-range rocket launch, making clear that it is moving forward with its plans in defiance of widespread condemnation from the international community, including Russia, and a plea for calm from neighbor and ally China.
Pyongyang insists that the rocket is merely launching a weather satellite and that it is within its sovereign rights to do so. The West believes the rocket launch is a thinly veiled ballistic missile test – a violation of United Nations sanctions meant to prevent North Korea from developing a missile capable of bearing a nuclear weapon.
Reuters reports that the launch will take place sometime between April 12 and 16, pegged to celebrations of the 100th birthday of deceased former leader Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.
"The launch of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite is the gift from our people to our great leader, comrade Kim Il-sung, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, so this cannot be a missile test," said Ryu Kum-chol, vice director of the space development department of the Korean Central Space Committee.