March 24, 2009

SEOUL – North Korea said on Tuesday any attempt by the UN Security Council to punish it for trying to put a satellite in space would mean the collapse of international disarmament talks aimed at ending its nuclear programme.

[efoods]North Korea has said it would launch a satellite between April 4 and 8. Regional powers see the launch as a disguised test of its longest-range missile and a violation of UN sanctions forbidding the reclusive state from firing ballistic missiles.

"It is perversity to say satellite launch technology cannot be distinguished from a long-range missile technology and so must be dealt with by the UN Security Council, which is like saying a kitchen knife is no different from a bayonet," state media quoted a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

The unidentified spokesman said "such an act of hostility" would be in defiance of the Sept. 19 joint statement, a disarmament-for-aid deal the impoverished North reached with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

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