North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un

North Korea will send a satellite into orbit in April to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of the late leader and founder of North Korea Kim Il-sung, the state media announced on Friday.

Pyongyang would be blasting its Unha-3 rocket to place the Kwangmyongsong-3 in orbit between 12 and 16 April, a spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology said in a statement.

The announcement of a fresh satellite launch came just two months after Kim Jog-un came to power following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, and a month after agreeing to a moratorium on missile testing.

At the end of February, North Korea agreed to suspend long range missile tests and uranium enrichment and allow access to UN weapons inspectors to its nuclear programmes, as part of a deal to get 240,000 tonnes of food aid.

North Korea is restricted from nuclear and ballistic activity following the 2009 missile launch.

The move to launch the satellite is seen by the west as a violation of UN Security Council resolutions which came into effect after the long range missile launch over Japan by Pyongyang in 2009.

Pyongyang insisted that its satellite launch is for a peaceful space programme and claimed it is acting within international law.

The rocket launch would be from the Solace Satellite Launching Station in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province.