Rocket launch aims to send message that N. Korea is nuclear power: Seoul gov't

By 김영원
  • Published : Dec 8, 2012 - 14:20
  • Updated : Dec 8, 2012 - 15:37

North Korea's planned long-range rocket launch is aimed at sending the message that the reclusive communist country is a nuclear power, Seoul's Ministry of Unification said Saturday.

The ministry said Pyongyang had revised its Constitution earlier in the year to blatantly point out that it is a country armed with nuclear weapons.

It added that while the North claims that the three stage space delivery vehicle is designed to send a satellite into low orbit around the Earth, if the launch is successful, the country will probably redouble its claims that it is a nuclear power.

The rocket was placed on a launch pad in Dongchang-ri in the northwestern part of North Korea earlier in the week, with intelligence showing there has been steady increase in activity at the site. If fuel injection takes place the rocket can be launched next week.

"The provocation by the North Korean government will, however, adversely affect the livelihood of the people, raise inter-Korean tension and further isolate it from the rest of the world," the ministry said, stressing such developments are deplorable.

"North Korea should realize that its current policy of relying on atomic weapons and missiles will not work and the only way for the country to survive is if it follows a course to end its nuke program," it said.

The ministry said it is still not too late to stop the launch and focus on implementing measures to improve the welfare of the people.

It said if Pyongyang had spent the money used to develop weapons of mass destruction on taking care of its people, the country would not have the kind of food shortages it is experiencing at present.

The North, meanwhile, has persistently said it is launching a space rocket and not a missile because it will take a satellite into space.

There is almost no distinction between the technology needed to build a missile and a rocket. A space vehicle armed with a warhead is a ballistic missile, while if it carries a satellite or spaceship it can be called a rocket.(Yonhap News)

<관련 한글 기사>

통일부 "北 미사일, 핵보유국 기정사실 하려는 것"

"민생ㆍ비핵화 유일한 선택지..발사계획 철회해야"

통일부는 8일 북한의 장거리 로켓 발사 계획에 대해 "핵 보유국 지위를 기정사실화하려는 것"이라면서 철회를 촉구했다.

통일부는 이날 `북한 장거리 미사일 발사 관련 설명자료'를 통해 "북한은 올해 개정된 헌법에 핵 보유국을 명시하는 등 핵무장 의도를 노골적으로 드러내고 있다"면서 "북한이 주장하는 위성발사는 그 목적이 핵탄두 장착을 위한 운반수단 개발이다. 발사 성공 후 핵 보유국 주장을 더욱 강하게 내세우기 위한 것"이라고 밝혔다.

통일부는 "북한 지도부의 도발로 북한 주민의 민생은 더욱 어려워지고 남북 간 긴장은 고조되며 국제사회에서 고립될 것"이라면서 "매우 개탄스러운 일"이라고 지적했다.

특히 "핵과 미사일에 기댄 체제 생존전략은 결국 실패할 수밖에 없으며 민생발전과 비핵화만이 북한 정권의 유일한 선택지임을 알아야 한다"며 "지금이라도 발사계획을 철회하고 민생발전과 비핵화의 바람직한 길로 나와야 한다"고 촉구했다.

통일부는 "북한이 대량살상무기 개발 비용을 식량문제 해결에 썼다면 북한 주민들이 수년간 식량 걱정 없이 살 수 있을 것"이라면서 "막대한 재원이 소요되는 대량살상무기 개발보다 민생을 돌봐 북한 주민들을 도탄에서 구해야 할 것"이라고  강조했다.