Missile development is a sovereign right: N Korea
The Times of India

March 3, 2003

SEOUL: A week after test-firing a missile, North Korea said Monday that it has the right to develop and deploy missiles as a means of self-defense. North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency accused the United States and Japan of using the alleged threat from North Korean missiles as a pretext to prepare for an attack. The accusation comes amid tension over the North's nuclear development.

The United States and Japan "are trying to make an excuse for staging a pre-emptive attack," KCNA said. The report was monitored by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

US officials have said they have no plans to invade North Korea, but are growing increasingly concerned about the North's reactivation of a nuclear reactor that is part of a suspected weapons programme.

"The development and deployment of missiles is a sovereign right and is aimed at strengthening self-defense capabilities," KCNA said.

North Korea launched an anti-ship missile into the sea off its east coast on the eve of the inauguration of South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun on February 24.