Korean official halts visit over launch


South Korea’s minister for inter-Korean affairs postponed a visit to Japan on Monday due to concerns over North Korea’s rocket launch later this month, a Unification Ministry spokesman said.

Unification Minister Yu Woo Ik “was to visit Japan from Monday to carry out diplomatic activities related to inter-Korean unification, but his visit was postponed in light of the grim situation arising from North Korea’s planned rocket launch,” Kim Hyung Seok said at a Monday news briefing.

North Korea revealed plans last month to launch an Earth observation satellite atop a long-range rocket between April 12 and 16 to mark the 100th birthday of late state founder Kim Il Sung. Kim’s birthday is April 15.

The United States, Japan, South Korea, and other allies view the North’s rocket launch as a covert plan to test its ballistic missile technology.