03/12/2009, 00.00
KOREA
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Pyongyang: satellite launch “imminent”

The North’s communist regime reiterates its’ intention to push ahead with its spatial experiment. The launch should take place between April 4th and 8th. Seoul and Washington maintain it is a missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The US government threatens fresh sanctions at the UN Security Council. Kim Jong-un is not among the 687 new North Korean parliamentarians.
Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pyongyang has informed international agencies that the launch of its new telecommunications satellite is “imminent”.  The news was reported today by the South Korean agency Yonhap News, without however a specific date for the experiment.  According to intelligence sources, North Korea contacted the London based International Maritime Organisation that the launch is programmed for “between April 4th and 8th”.

The United States and South Korea maintain that the North aims to experiment a missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads; they are both inviting Pyongyang to interrupt launch preparations and to return to the negotiating table.  The North Korean government instead maintains that the satellite is for telecommunication purposes and continues to defend the legitimacy of its experiment.  Moreover the launch violates United Nations directives that ban the testing of missiles – military or civilian – by North Korea.

Yesterday US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, announced “a series of options” to be adopted towards Pyongyang, including more Security Council resolutions. However Clinton did specify that the six party talks on the North Korean nuclear program “would not be touched”.

Finally, Pyongyang has also officially named the new members of the Supreme People’s Assembly in the wake of March 8th elections.  Among the 687 parliamentarians the name of 26 year-old Kim Jong-un, the “Dear Leaders” third son and considered by many his probable successor, did not appear.  The central committee has reported that 99.98% of the population took part in the vote and that 100% “chose” the only candidate proposed – and allotted in precedence – by the party.

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