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      North Korean Missile May Explode Food Deal

      The United States has called Pyongyang's determination to launch a satellite in violation of recent agreements 'highly provocative'
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 3/16/2012, 2:39 PM

      North Korean Scud-B Missiles
      North Korean Scud-B Missiles
      Reuters

      The United States on Friday denounced North Korean's plan to launch a long-range rocket to put a satellite into orbit next month as "highly provocative."

      "North Korea's announcement that it plans to conduct a missile launch in direct violation of its international obligations is highly provocative," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland added in a statement.

      "UN Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874 clearly and unequivocally prohibit North Korea from conducting launches that use ballistic missile technology.

      "We call on North Korea to adhere to its international obligations, including all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. We are consulting closely with our international partners on next steps.

      "Such a missile launch would pose a threat to regional security and would also be inconsistent with North Korea's recent undertaking to refrain from long-range missile launches," she added.

      The announced launch came just 16 days after its new leaders agreed to suspend long-range missile tests and allow UN inspectors access to its nuclear facilities in exchange for 240,000 tons of US food aid.

      Pyongyang's projected launch date is between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-Sung, the communist state's official news agency said.

      Analysts say North Korea's new leader Kim Jong-Un may be using the launch to shore up his strong-man credentials with Pyongyang's hard-liners just months after the death of his long-ruling father Kim Jong-Il.

      Pyongyang's deal for US food has been characterized as "nuclear extortion" by a heavily armed and deeply impoverished nation, but has also raised questions about the new leader's dedication to North Korea's failed communist policies.