The US state department said the trial was “highly provocative” and would breach North Korea’s international obligations. Many see it as a test of missile technology.
The bilateral deal, which involves food aid in exchange for nuclear concessions, was hammered out barely two weeks ago. Washington greeted it as a first step towards reducing regional strains.
Relations deteriorated sharply after Pyongyang’s last such launch in 2009, which prompted condemnation from the UN security council and a tightening of sanctions. While North Korea said it was engaged in a peaceful space programme, others said it had breached resolutions against nuclear and ballistic missile activity.
The launch technology for missiles and satellites is near-identical, say experts. Pyongyang announced the satellite would be launched between 12-16 April to mark the centenary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder and grandfather of its leader, Kim Jong-un.