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South Korea Vows Response if North Korea Launches Long-Range Rocket

South Korea warned that it will respond rapidly and effectively to a possible launch of a long-range rocket by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ( DPRK) via the United Nations Security Council.

“Foreign Ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il told a press briefing that the DPRK’s launch of any ballistic missile will be a grave act of provocation and military threat in violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions that ban the DPRK’s all acts using any ballistic missile technology,” reports Chinese state news agency Xinhua.

“To take rapid and effective measures via the UN Security Council in response to any DPRK launch of a long-range ballistic missile, South Korea will closely cooperate with related countries, including members of the UN Security Council, the spokesman said,” adds the report.

The spokesman’s comments came a day after North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration (NADA) said it was close to developing earth observation satellites, which means there could be a long-range rocket launch around the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Oct. 10, notes Xinhua.

“Until now, no specific movements have been detected for the DPRK’s long-range rocket launch, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a press briefing, saying that the country was closely monitoring all situations about the DPRK’s long-range missile firing along with the United States,” points out the report.

“The anonymous NADA director told the official KCNA news agency that successful progress has been made in its expansion of launching grounds for higher-level satellite lift-off, noting that the world will witness more satellites of Songun (military-first policy of the DPRK) Korea fired into the sky at the times and locations determined by its ruling party’s central committee,” it adds.

Comments from the NDA director prompted speculation that Pyongyang may soon test-fire a long-range rocket, which South Korea claims is a ballistic missile.

“The DPRK recently erected a 67-meter-long launch tower for long-range rockets, taller than the previous 50-meter pad, at a Tongchang-ri rocket base in the northwest DPRK,” reports Xinhua. “The country fired a three-stage Unha-3 rocket into the space orbit in December 2012, two months before its third nuclear test.”

South Korea’s planned rocket launch comes after top military officials from the two Koreas engaged in talks late last month that resulted in an agreement on August 25.

Under the agreement, the two sides promised to ease military tensions and engage in intergovernmental talks.

Meanwhile, Xinhua reports, an unnamed director of South Korea’s Atomic Energy Institute said Tuesday that its scientists were “steadily improving the level of nuclear weapons” in quality and quantity, the state-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

South Korea “is fully ready to cope with them with nuclear weapons any time,” said the director, referring to the United States and other forces accused of seeking a hostile policy towards the DPRK.

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