September 1, 2008

South Korea Agency Cites North Radio As Saying North Able to Launch Satellite

Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap

[Yonhap headline: "N. Korea Says It Can Launch Satellites Anytime"]

SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) - North Korea on Sunday [31 August] celebrated the 10th anniversary of the launch of Taepodong-1, the communist state's first self-claimed satellite rocket, declaring that it can do the same anytime.

Taepodong-1 is a three-stage intermediate-range ballistic missile developed in North Korea and currently in service. The missile was derived originally from the Scud rocket and can allegedly serve as both a nuclear delivery system and a space launch vehicle.

On Aug. 31, 1998, North Korea proudly announced that it had successfully launched its first satellite Kwangmyoungsong [Kwangmyo'ngso'ng] into orbit by using the Taepodong-1 rocket.

"Our country's technology has advanced to the level where we can freely launch a working satellite at any time," Radio Pyongyang said in a commentary monitored here.

"The Kwangmyoungsong was successfully launched at that time in the face of imperialists' attempt to isolate our country and repeated outbreak of natural disasters," said the radio, calling the satellite a "purely self-developed North Korean technology."

The radio quoted a North Korean scientist as saying that the country will continue to send other satellites into space under the name of Kwangmyoungsong.

On the occasion of the Taepodong-1 launch anniversary, North Korea's other state-controlled media outlets also poured out reports praising the country's rocket and satellite technologies.

Originally published by Yonhap news agency, Seoul, in English 0712 31 Aug 08.

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