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In March, North Korea announced that it was ready to launch an observation satellite into space between April 12 and 16, when the country celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founder, Kim Il Sung. Representatives from the U.S., Japan, South Korea and even China, which is said to be in a perfect diplomatic relationship with Pyongyang, tried to restrain these plans.
The main reason they pointed out was the fact that the actions of the North Korean officials are in dissent with U.N. resolutions. Besides, the country formally declared last year that it would not take part in nuclear activities which would put people in danger.
Despite all warning, North Koreans continue to insist that their project is for scientific purposes, whose major task is to improve the economic situation of the country. The general manager of the launch facility, Jang Myong Jin, said: “Our country has the right and also the obligation to develop satellites and launching vehicles. No matter what others say, we are doing this for peaceful purposes.” However, the world still wonders whether these are the only intentions of Pyongyang.
The misgivings of Japan and South Korea grew into the taking of precursory defensive measures. They both made known that they would start actions against the rocket if necessary. In reply to these operations in the Asian countries, North Korea assured that the trajectory of the satellite would be southwards, and that it would not put its neighbor in danger. Apart from this, Pyongyang didn’t hide its intention to “punish” every country which tries to thwart its plans.
The plans are meant to show to the world that despite the hardships around the tragic death of their leader, Kim Jong Il, North Koreans are still a strong nation. The country is ready to turn a new page and start writing the new history of their country under the patronage of Kim Jong Un. “North Korea needs to show some tangible achievements to its people to solidify Kim Jong Un’s leadership,” declared Koh Yu Hwan, a professor at Seoul’s Donnguk Univerity.
The preparations around the launch of the satellite worked according to plan. The first two satellites, built on the launch pad, were experimental, but according to the engineers working on the project, the third one will be brought into use as soon as possible.
On April 8, journalists were officially allowed to see the rocket for the first time, which turned to be the apple of discord between the Asian country and the world leaders. The media representatives, who gathered in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, had the opportunity to examine from close up the Unha-3 rocket, which is said to fly off into space later this month. Meanwhile, Washington promised to provide Pyongyang with provisions if necessary, on the condition that it will keep nuclear activities idle.
The satellite itself has to send back images, which will be used for projects involving the exploration of the natural resources of the Asian country, as well as for weather forecasting. And yet, there are still fears that this is the next North Korean plan directed against its southern neighbor and the U.S.