North Korea says it will go ahead with a plan to launch a rocket-powered satellite scheduled for next month. (File photo)
North Korea has warned that any attempts to jeopardize its plans to launch a rocket-powered satellite scheduled for later this month would constitute “an act of war.”
Whoever "intercepts the satellite or collects its debris will meet immediate, resolute and merciless punishment" from the North, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea in Pyongyang announced in a statement on Thursday.
The statement also warned South Korea against any provocation, saying the DPRK "will mete out the unimaginable and the most miserable punishment to its rival if it dares fire into the sky above the (North), Pyongyang, in particular."
The warning comes after Japanese Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka issued in March a directive to intercept the rocket if it threatened Japan's “territorial integrity.”
South Korea has also threatened to destroy any North Korean rocket that violates its territory.
North Korea says it plans to launch a rocket-powered satellite somewhere between April 12 and 16.
Pyongyang insists the launch is for scientific and peaceful purposes .
The United States, South Korea, and Japan, however, claim that it will be a camouflaged test for a long-range missile.