NKorea says it is preparing satellite launch

February 23, 2009 7:00:54 PM PST
North Korea says it is preparing to launch a satellite - in a reference to what neighboring countries believe is an imminent test of a long-range missile. The North's space technology agency said Tuesday that full-fledged preparations are under way to launch satellite "Kwangmyongsong No. 2" at Hwadae in the country's northeast, Pyongyang's clearest reference yet to an approaching launch.

Hwadae is widely believed to be the launch site for the North's longest-range Taepodong-2 missile.

North Korea said last week that it has the right to "space development" - a term it has used in the past to disguise a missile test as a satellite launch. When it test-fired a shorter-range Taepodong 1 missile over Japan in 1998, it claimed to have put a satellite into orbit.

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