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(LEAD) N. Korea denounces U.S. for approval of S. Korean space rocket
SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) -- North Korea again warned Saturday of "toughest retaliation" against the United States over the United Nations Security Council's recent resolution condemning its rocket launch, accusing Washington of having double standards for its own space program and South Korea's rocket launch.

   The accusation came three days after South Korea successfully launched its first space rocket, the Korea Space Launch Vehicle-1, putting a 100-kilogram science satellite into orbit.

   An unidentified spokesman for the North's foreign ministry claimed that the U.S. "supported and defended" the South Korean space rocket, also known as Naro, and drew "worldwide censure and derision," according to an interview carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Saturday.

   North Korea invited fresh U.N. Security Council sanctions by launching a satellite-carrying long-range rocket late last year. The communist state claimed the satellite launch was part of its peaceful space program, but the Security Council maintained it was still in violation of previous U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang that condemned any test or use of ballistic missile technology.

   The U.S., along with the rest of the international community, however, welcomed Seoul's successful launch of its space rocket, drawing a clear line between the two Koreas in terms of the transparency of their programs.

   "You know our view that there is no basis for comparing the behavior of the ROK in space with the behavior of the DPRK," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing on Thursday, adding Pyongyang is "completely proscribed under binding U.N. Security Council resolutions from any kind of launching," while Seoul "has developed its space launch program completely responsibly."

   In the briefing, Nuland used the acronyms of the formal names of the Koreas -- the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

   Dismissing the U.S. response as "sophism," the North's foreign ministry spokesman said the United States' different stances toward the rocket launches by South and North Korea were a fallacy.

   "The U.S. denied the DPRK's right to launch satellite for no justifiable reason but blindly connived at the satellite launch by its stooge South Korea. This is the height of double standards and impudence," the spokesman was quoted as saying in the English version of the KCNA report.

   Stressing its "independent and legitimate" right to satellite launch, the spokesman warned of "toughest retaliation" against the U.S.

   "The American way of thinking, American standard may work on other countries but never on the DPRK. The U.S. brazen-faced double standards and high-handed hostile act are bound to face the DPRK's toughest retaliation," the spokesman said.

   The communist country has threatened to detonate a nuclear device in retaliation for the U.N. Security Council's passage of a resolution condemning its Dec. 12 long-range rocket launch, and intelligence efforts have recently spotted a series of signs of preparations for the test.

   bdk@yna.co.kr
graceoh@yna.co.kr
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