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North Korea all set to launch satellite: Official

By The Assam Tribune

Pyongyang, April 11 (IANS): North Korea is ready to launch a satellite, an official said today.

On Wednesday morning, the North Korean government invited a group of journalists to visit the General Satellite Control and Command Center, located some 20 km northwest of Pyongyang, reported Xinhua.

Paek Chunghou, general director of the facility, said that workers had placed the satellite on the rocket and fuel is being injected into the rocket. "We're sure that we will be successful," he said through an interpreter.

Asked if North Korea would launch the satellite Thursday since the weather condition is currently very good, the director said he was still awaiting the order for the exact time to launch the satellite.

North Korea announced last month its decision to launch the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite, an earth observation satellite, between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th birthday of late country's founder Kim Il Sung.

The announcement has triggered strong reactions from the US and North Korea's neighbours South Korea and Japan, with all three countries pressurizing Pyongyang to halt the plan.

Calling the planned satellite launch as "provocative" and "inconsistent with its commitments", the US suspended planned food aid to the country March 28.

On Feb 29, the two countries announced that they had reached a deal, under which North Korea agreed to suspend nuclear enrichment activities as well as long-range missile launches and allow international inspectors back into the country, while the US would provide the country with 240,000 tonnes of nutritious aid.

South Korea also maintains that the satellite launch could be a disguised test of a long-range missile.

Both South Korea and Japan warned that they could intercept the rocket if it or its fragments threaten to hit the two countries.

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