North Korea has criticized the US for its double-standard approach to Pyongyang’s space program and Seoul’s rocket launch. “The US unconditional criticism of our satellite launch and its unconditional approval of a satellite launch by the South are at the height of double standards,” the state-run KCNA quoted a foreign ministry spokesperson Saturday. The remarks came three days after South Korea successfully put the 140-ton satellite called Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-I) into orbit on January 30, 2013. On December 12, 2012, North Korea also announced it had test-fired the second version of Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite, a long-range rocket, and successfully placed it into orbit. However, the rocket launch drew widespread criticism from the European Union and the UN, as they threatened to impose further sanctions on North Korea.
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on January 31, 2013 that there is no basis for comparing the rocket programs of North and South Koreas, as Seoul “has developed its technology responsibly.”Washington and its allies say the North Korean launch has been a cover for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Also on January 22, the United Nations Security Council decided to impose new sanctions on North Korean companies and several individuals responsible for its rocket launch. However, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in December 2012 that the country would go ahead with its space program and would launch more rockets and place more satellites into orbit. MKA/HGH/SL