News

    North Korea Plans April 'Space' Launch

    In what is likely to be widely considered a violation of its recent agreement to halt ballistic-missile tests, North Korea has made a surprise announcement that it intends to conduct a satellite launch next month.  

    The North Korean announcement first came during Friday's noon radio newscast from Pyongyang.  It quotes an unnamed spokesman of the country's Outer Space Technology Committee saying an earth observatory satellite will be launched between April 12 and 16.

    The announcer says the event is to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founder and late president, Kim Il Sung.

    Most significantly, the announcement specifies the payload will be carried into orbit on the Unha-3, the latest version of what is believed to be a three-stage long-range ballistic missile the intelligence community contends is designed to eventually carry North Korean nuclear weapons.

    Earlier attempts with variants of the missile in 2006 and 2009 failed to reach orbit, although North Korea claims two successes.  

    The 2009 launch led to a U.N. Security Council condemnation and toughening of sanctions on the impoverished and isolated country.

    North Korea agreed last month to suspend uranium enrichment and allow the return of U.N. weapons inspectors in exchange for desperately-needed food aid.

    In a joint announcement after talks with the United States, Pyongyang also promised a moratorium on its nuclear development and long-range missile tests.

    North Korea says next month's launch is in accordance with international regulations governing the launch of satellites for “peaceful scientific purposes.”

    Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at South Korea's Dongguk University, says the United States and others are likely to dispute that contention.

    Kim says Pyongyang is looking to play a card to give it a good hand for future negotiations with Washington without resorting to a military act that would be overly provocative.

    The launch is to take place at a new facility in North Pyongan province.  VOA News published satellite photographs, 13 months ago, showing the progress of construction at the all-weather Tongchang-ri base

    Monday's broadcast announcement emphasizes the flight path will be towards the southwest.

    The North Korean announcer says the flight path has been safely set and will avoid neighboring states, thus there is no possibility of debris falling on them - an indirect reference to South Korea and Japan.

    A statement from South Korea's Foreign Ministry says any attempt by the North to place its own satellite into orbit would clearly violate U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874 banning all launches using ballistic-missile technology.  It adds this would be a "grave provocation" for regional peace and security.

    [State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Pyongyang's announcement of the launch would make implementation of a deal to provide North Korea with food aid "very difficult" because it calls into question whether North Korea's word can be trusted.  She said the United States would have to rely on North Korean officials to make sure the food is delivered to those in need.]

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Jacques
    March 19, 2012 2:01 PM
    Not to encourage North korea's bad attitude newscast but what I''d like to ree see and maybe China and North Korea can do it is just like in the late 60's early 70's can they do like the US did and send a rocket into space than re coup the capsule out of the Pacific with that aircraft carrier. Don't want to get nostalgic but that might become a competitive overture.

    by: NVO
    March 16, 2012 8:55 AM
    Mass Exodus out of the tyranical regime. Leave the Buffoons behind. Tyranical drones stay, people exodus. Immediately.

    by: bobbyallen
    March 16, 2012 1:44 AM
    Stop all forms of aid to this country; the people will suffer but that is on their evil regime. The sooner the evil regime fall the better.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora