WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States, responding to a report that North Korea is developing a new space satellite, said on Thursday any launch that used ballistic missile technology would be a violation of United Nations resolutions.
The Associated Press news agency quoted Paek Chang Ho, vice director of the scientific research and development department of North Korea’s space agency, as saying that “a more advanced Earth observation satellite” was under development.
“When it’s complete, before launching it, we will inform international organizations and other countries,” Paek was quoted as saying.
Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said any rocket capable of putting a satellite into orbit used technology almost identical to that of a ballistic missile.
“Any satellite launch that uses ballistic missile technology would be a violation of multiple Security Council resolutions that require North Korea to suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program,” she told a news briefing.
The secretive country has an arsenal of missiles of various ranges and is believed to be developing an intercontinental ballistic missile aimed at delivering nuclear weapons.
In 2012, North Korea launched what is generally considered a long-range rocket, putting what it said was a satellite into orbit.
Pyongyang called it a space launch vehicle, but the international community said it was a missile that violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. North Korea is under various sanctions for its missile program and three nuclear tests.
Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by David Storey and Tom Brown