North Korea says it’s developing new satellite for launch

In+this+May+28%2C+2015+photo%2C+Paek+Chang+Ho%2C+Vice+Director+of+the+Scientific+Research+and+Development+Department+of+North+Korea%E2%80%99s+National+Aerospace+Development+Administration%2C+talks+during+an+interview+in+Pyongyang%2C+North+Korea.+North+Korean+space+agency+officials+say+the+country+is+developing+a+more+advanced+Earth+observation+satellite+and+are+defending+their+right+to+conduct+rocket+launches+whenever+they+see+fit%2C+despite+protests+by+the+United+States+and+others+that+say+the+launches+are+aimed+primarily+at+honing+military-use+technologies.+%28AP+Photo%2FAPTN%29

In this May 28, 2015 photo, Paek Chang Ho, Vice Director of the Scientific Research and Development Department of North Korea’s National Aerospace Development Administration, talks during an interview in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korean space agency officials say the country is developing a more advanced Earth observation satellite and are defending their right to conduct rocket launches whenever they see fit, despite protests by the United States and others that say the launches are aimed primarily at honing military-use technologies. (AP Photo/APTN)

Gregory Dewar

Associated Press

North Korean space agency officials say the country is developing a more advanced Earth observation satellite and are defending their right to conduct rocket launches whenever they see fit, despite protests by the United States and others that the launches are aimed primarily at honing military-use technologies.

The North launched its first and only satellite in 2012. The claim that it is working on another, made in an interview last week with an AP Television crew in Pyongyang, comes amid a flurry of attention to the country’s fledgling space agency, including a visit by leader Kim Jong Un to a new satellite control center that was repeatedly broadcast on North Korean TV early month.

“We are developing a more advanced Earth observation satellite and when it’s complete, before launching it, we will inform international organizations and other countries,” Paek Chang Ho, vice director of the scientific research and development department of the North’s space agency said in the interview.

Paek did not provide further details of what the satellite will do, how close it is to completion, when development began or when the next launch might be.

Speculation the North may be planning a rocket launch to mark the 70th anniversary this October of the ruling Korean Workers Party heated up after the release of recent satellite imagery at North Korea’s Sohae rocket launch site. Analysts at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies say the images show significant new construction.

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