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North Korea Announces Long-Range Rocket, U.S. Fears Secret Nuke Test

Update Date: Feb 03, 2016 12:31 PM EST
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North Korea will launch a long-range rocket early next week so that it can place an earth observation satellite into orbit, it announced Tuesday. Critics find it a "major violation" of United Nations guidelines, as well as a disguise to test banned ballistic missile technology.

The United Nations' International Maritime Organization announced that North Korea had warned that it planned to launch a satellite at some time between Feb.8,2016 and Feb.25,2016.

The nation also informed the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Telecommunication Union that its satellite's functional duration will be only for four years while it will go around the earth in a "non-geostationary orbit", reported Reuters.

Its notice will send a warning to ships, aircraft and civilians in the region about "falling debris" that will land on the west coast of Korea.

Hence, North Korea can use the launch to test the technology required for a long-range nuclear strike.

The announcement has been made only a few weeks after it undertook the fourth nuclear test of a hydrogen bomb so that the U.S. administration will impose stringent global sanctions.

Further launches by North Korea would be just like "another destabilizing provocation."

"I feel confident in telling you that the international community would regard a step like that by the North Koreans as just another irresponsible provocation and a clear violation of their international obligations," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters, according to The Daily Caller.

The senior U.S. diplomat for East Asia, Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, pointed out that even China, which is North Korea's main ally, concurs that "there needs to be consequences to North Korea for its defiance and for its threatening behaviors."

North Korea rebuts all the threats of sanctions and is firm that it is launching its missiles only for peaceful purposes.

"We have nothing to be afraid of," North Korea's ambassador to the U.K., Hyon Hak Bong, said. "We will go ahead definitely, surely. If they... pass resolutions or sanctions, this will be viewed as a provocation and... can make the situation worse. I assure you that the launch is for a peaceful purpose."

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