North Korea will launch a new satellite into space next month, according to an announcement made in Pyongyang on Friday as part of the celebrations for the centenary of birth of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the country and grandfather of Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s current leader. The launch is scheduled to take place on April 12-16.
Japan, South Korea and the United States quickly condemned the announcement, citing concerns over the the long-range rocket launch required to put the satellite into orbit. The U.S. called the announcement “highly provocative”, while South Korea said the launch would be a clear violation of U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea since its ballistic missile testings in 2006 and 2009.
The announcement comes just a couple of weeks after North Korea struck a deal with the U.S. over its nuclear program, promising to suspend weapons tests in exchange of receiving food aid. North Korea’s satellite launches have been criticized by the U.S. and its allies in the region because they can be used to cover up long-rage ballistic missile tests in the highly secretive nation. The announcement claims Pyongyang intends to launch a satellite for peaceful purposes.