News

    North Korea Readies Rocket Launch

    North Korean technicians man computer terminals at North Korea's space agency's General Launch Command Center on the outskirts of  Pyongyang, April 11, 2012.
    North Korean technicians man computer terminals at North Korea's space agency's General Launch Command Center on the outskirts of Pyongyang, April 11, 2012.
    Baik Sungwon

    North Korea is counting down to a rocket launch that has been widely condemned by the international community. North Korean authorities on Wednesday invited foreign journalists to a satellite control center and showed the latest preparations. 

    Paek Chang-ho, head of the control center for the North Korean Committee of Space Technology, told the group of international reporters that fuel was being loaded onto the rocket, which is set for launch sometime between Thursday and Monday, depending on weather conditions.

    Video monitors showed the rocket covered with green tarpaulin.

    Watch a related video report by Laurel Bowman


    Paek said a satellite - the Gwangmyungsung-3 - has been installed on the rocket and explained what will happen if it enters into orbit.  

    “After ‘Gwangmyungsung-3 successfully enters orbit, we will receive satellite imagery and relay the images to relevant departments including the Earth Environment Information Center. The images are crucial to the development of the economy,” he said.

    Paek said Pyongyang opened the launch facility to the journalists in an effort to dispel concerns by the West and North Korea's neighbors that it is testing a long-range ballistic missile. He asked for impartial judgement by foreign journalists and experts.

    Peaceful intentions?

    Recent Events in N. Korea's Nuclear History

    • 2006: Announces successful test of a nuclear explosive device
    • 2007: Shuts down Yongbyon nuclear facility and allows IAEA inspectors back into the country
    • 2009:Launches long-range missile over the Sea of Japan, prompting a rebuke from the U.N. Security Council
    • 2012: Agrees to a moratorium of nuclear tests and uranium enrichment activity at Yongbyon, and to suspend its long-range missile launches
    • 2012: Announces plans to launch a weather satellite in an act seen by critics as a disguised ballistic missile test

    James Oberg, a space consultant for American broadcaster NBC, indicated that Pyongyang’s claims are plausible. “I believe that this is not a military shot,” he said while North Korean officials looked on. When asked about the subject later, Oberg told VOA that it was a complicated matter, without elaborating.  "It's not simple," he said.

    The United States and its allies say the rocket launch violates a U.N. Security Council ban on any North Korean ballistic missile testing. Japan and South Korea threatened to shoot down the rocket it it strays over their territory, an action Pyongyang has said would amount to a declaration of war.

    Nuclear test

    Western military experts say the technology for launching a rocket carrying a satellite and for launching a military missile is much the same, so this launch essentially tests Pyongyang's weapons systems.

    Paek, however, said he will do everything to show the mission is peaceful, including sharing images sent by the satellite with other countries.

    He joked with the reporters that they could fly with the rocket and see if there is a warhead or a satellite inside, and said he would have a rubber boat to catch them after its stages fall into the sea.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Irys
    April 12, 2012 8:41 AM
    @NVO. I think that you are giving waaay too much credit to USA for WWII. We were only involved in it for one year, and that at the very end of the war, when it was pretty much over already. Yes, we had helped. But we did not change the course of the war that was already dying off.

    by: Celestine kalu
    April 12, 2012 1:27 AM
    We need peace, America why not first distroy ur stock of misills then u can condem s.korea. If ur hands are clean cast d first stone.

    by: NVO
    April 11, 2012 7:57 AM
    ACME Rocket, Wiley Coyote:SHAM!!!

    by: Peter
    April 11, 2012 2:34 AM
    They can't feed the population but they can spend heaps on rockets!

    by: Mike Watkins-mike @ Fennastorn.co.za
    April 11, 2012 1:07 AM
    the only country to have used a nuclear weapon is the world's biggest crime syndicate the USA.Americans must give up their missiles and enrichment if they expect others to do so.the world sits in recession today because of USA greed.it's capitalism is as evil as North Korea's communism.both are forces of Satan in the world.our lives are threatened by American cowardice and greed

    by: BBG
    April 11, 2012 1:04 AM
    What is new. They will launch their new toy to secure even more American and western gifts of aide. It has been like this since the 1950's and America keeps playing their game on their terms.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.