Mar 27, 2012 ASDNews (AFP)
North Korea said Tuesday it would go ahead with a widely criticised plan for a satellite launch and called on US President Barack Obama to drop his "confrontational mindset".
"We will never give up the right to launch a peaceful satellite, a legitimate right of a sovereign state and an essential step for economic development," a foreign ministry spokesman told the official KCNA news agency.
The spokesman was responding to Obama's comments Sunday and Monday during a visit to South Korea.
The US leader said his country was not hostile to the North's people but denounced the rocket launch scheduled between April 12-16.
The US and other countries say it would in fact be a long-range missile test banned under UN resolutions.
"The US head of state said he had no hostile intention towards us," the spokesman said.
"But if that remark is genuine, he should abandon the confrontational mindset that tries to block us, and should have the courage to admit that we have as much right to launch our satellite as other countries do."
The North said it would judge whether Obama's remarks were genuine "or just another hypocrisy" depending on whether his country applies a double standard to the satellite launch.
It said it had invited foreign experts and reporters to witness "a scientific space technology project that has nothing to do with any military purpose".
The North said it has also asked the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to send experts to the site.
Obama has said any launch would jeopardise a US-North Korean deal reached only last month, under which the North agreed a partial nuclear freeze and a missile test moratorium in return for US food aid.
The North insists its satellite launch is not a missile test.
There was no reason to conduct such a test at this time "after labouring so much to reach an agreement with the US and when the whole political atmosphere is favourable", it said.