North Korea has notified neighbors, including Japan, of the trajectory of the rocket it plans to launch this month, a report said yesterday, after international condemnation of the move by the nuclear-armed state.
North Korea announced on Saturday it would launch a rocket sometime between Dec. 10 and 22 — its second long-range rocket launch this year after a much-hyped, but botched attempt in April.
Washington and Seoul urged Pyongyang to scrap the launch, while Tokyo reportedly postponed talks due next week with North Korea and ordered its military to prepare to shoot down the rocket if it goes over Japan.
“The North has notified aviation authorities in nations, including Japan, that could come under potential danger ... of the timing and expected path [of the rocket],” Yonhap news agency quoted an unnamed senior Seoul official as saying.
China and the Philippines were also likely to have been notified, it added.
North Korea said on Saturday the rocket would blast off “southward” from its Sohae Space Center in the country’s northwest.
“A safe flight path has been chosen so that parts of the carrier rocket that might fall during the launch process would not affect neighboring countries,” it said.
It added Pyongyang would “fully comply” with relevant international rules for the launch, which some analysts said was aimed at stirring patriotism and support for the country’s young, inexperienced ruler Kim Jong-un.
Pyongyang also repeated its claim made during its April launch that the rocket was aimed at promoting “the use of space for peaceful purposes” by placing a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite into orbit.
However, the US and its allies view the launch as a disguised test for an inter-continental ballistic missile banned under UN resolutions triggered by Pyongyang’s two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.