IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

North Korea Announces Satellite Launch Amid International Skepticism

North Korea said it plans to launch an observational satellite this month, two United Nations agencies said Tuesday.
Get more newsLiveon

North Korea has announced plans to launch an observational satellite this month, two United Nations agencies said Tuesday.

The international community has dismissed similar claims in the past as smokescreens for North Korean tests of ballistic-missile technology, which the country is banned from developing under U.N. regulations.

Two specialized U.N. agencies — the International Telecommunication Union and the International Maritime Organization — told NBC News by email Tuesday that they had been notified by North Korea of an upcoming launch.

The U.S. State Department called on the U.N. Security Council to impose new sanctions on North Korea, which earlier this month claimed it had tested a hydrogen bomb.

“We're not asking for some sort of preemptive resolution, here, to a launch that hasn't occurred. But the announcement of it, itself, is just all the more indication that the international community needs to get behind tougher action against them," State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

Pyongyang said the latest satellite in the "Kwangmyongsong" program was set to be fired into orbit between February 8 and 25, according to the IMO.

However, the ITU said the information provided by North Korea was incomplete and that it would be asking for the missing information before it formally published the country's notification.

Two years ago, North Korea failed to supply the ITU with the necessary information for what it said was another planned satellite launch, according to the agency. This meant the object could not be registered in the international satellite database known as the Master International Frequency Register.

Tuesday's revelation came after North Korea flouted U.N. regulations and conducted its fourth nuclear test in January. It claimed the test device was a hydrogen bomb, but this was treated with deep skepticism by the United States and others in the West.

Pyongyang last conducted it a long-range rocket test in December 2012. It said that launch was an observational satellite, but the U.S., U.N. and others condemned it as an illicit attempt to develop ballistic missiles.

The U.N. Security Council responded in January 2013 by saying it "demanded that the country not proceed with any further such activities" and expressed its "determination to take significant action in the event it did so."

The State Department at the time called the launch "highly provocative."