North Korea plans to launch satellite into space, UN says

North Korea is planning to send a satellite rocket into space this month, the UN said Tuesday, less than a month after the reclusive regime's controversial nuclear test.

North Korea is planning the launch an "Earth observation satellite" between February 8 and 25, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said, noting that three UN agencies that handle maritime, telecommunication and civil aviation issues had been notified.

"Right now, we are carefully monitoring developments and are in close touch with the interested parties and international organizations," he said.

The United States said the planned launch would be a provocation and that it is continuing to work with the international community to weigh its actions following a North Korean nuclear test last month.

"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 said.

North Korea launched a rocket in 2012, claiming it had sent a satellite into space. But the US charged the country with having secretly tested intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear capabilities.

North Korea says it exploded a hydrogen bomb on January 6, but Western experts say evidence suggests it was more likely to have been a conventional atom bomb. An H-bomb has a higher explosive force than what was observed.

The communist country carried out three atomic bomb tests between 2006 and 2013, leading to stiff sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.

Last update: Wed, 03/02/2016 - 00:35
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