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N. Korea lashes out over missile warnings

Associated Press / February 27, 2009
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SEOUL - North Korea lashed out at critics warning it not to test a long-range missile, saying yesterday that it would punish those trying to disrupt its plan to send what it calls a satellite into orbit.

The latest harsh words from Pyongyang came as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced plans to send her new envoy on North Korea to meet with negotiators in Asia trying to revive stalled nuclear disarmament talks.

North Korea announced this week that it was preparing to shoot a communication satellite into orbit. The United States, South Korea and other neighboring countries believe the launch may be a cover for a missile test-fire, saying the action would trigger international sanctions.

Yesterday, the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of (North) Korea accused South Korea of "trumpeting about 'sanctions'. . ." against its satellite launch, saying outsiders will know "what will soar in the air in the days ahead."

"If the puppet warmongers infringe upon our inviolable dignity even a bit . . . we will not only punish the provokers but reduce their stronghold to debris," the committee said in a statement carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.

Analysts say the North's planned launch is seen as a bid for President Obama's attention.

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