N Korea won't give up rocket launch
Seoul - North Korea insisted on Tuesday it would go ahead with its satellite launch, snubbing a call from US President Barack Obama to drop the plan and accusing him of a "confrontational mindset".
"We will never give up the right to launch a peaceful satellite, a legitimate right of a sovereign state and an essential step for economic development," a foreign ministry spokesperson told the official KCNA news agency.
The spokesperson was responding to Obama's comments on Sunday and Monday during a visit to South Korea for a nuclear security summit.
The US leader said his country was not hostile to the North's people but denounced the rocket launch scheduled between April 12-16.
The US and other countries say it would in fact be a long-range missile test banned under UN resolutions.
"The US head of state said he had no hostile intention towards us," the spokesperson said.
"But if that remark is genuine, he should abandon the confrontational mindset that tries to block us, and should have the courage to admit that we have as much right to launch our satellite as other countries do."
The North said it would judge whether Obama's remarks disavowing hostility were genuine "or just another hypocrisy" depending on whether his country applies a double standard to the satellite launch.
It said it had invited foreign experts including those from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), along with overseas reporters, to witness "a scientific space technology project that has nothing to do with any military purpose".
Obama has said any launch would jeopardise a US-North Korean deal reached only last month, under which the North agreed a partial nuclear freeze and a missile test moratorium in return for US food aid.
The North insists its satellite launch is not a missile test.