Seoul: N.Korea schedules rocket launch between April 4-8

SEOUL, March 12, 2009 (AFP) - North Korea has told the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that it will stage a rocket launch between April 4-8, South Korea's transport ministry said Thursday.

The London-based IMO informed Seoul that it has received notification from the North of these dates, an official at the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs told AFP.

"North Korea last night informed the IMO that the launch will be made between April 4-8," the official said. He declined to be identified but said he was speaking for the ministry.

"The North also informed it of two risk areas, one in the Pacific Ocean and the other in the East Sea (Sea of Japan)," the official said.

"The IMO is currently working on an official safety notice, which it will soon hand out to its member countries."

The North said earlier it had notified the IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organisation that it plans to launch "an experimental communications satellite" but gave no date.

South Korean, US and Japanese officials see such a launch as a disguised long-range missile test which would breach a UN resolution, and have urged the hardline communist state to scrap its plans.

Source: AFP

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