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N Korea announces rocket launch plans

Second try will follow failed attempt in April

N Korea announces rocket launch plans
North Korea failed to launch the Unha-3 rocket last April. (File Photo)
Stephen Hong, Seoul

December 3, 2012

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North Korea has announced plans to launch another long-range rocket this month, after a failed attempt last April.

The (North) Korean Committee for Space Technology will launch an "observation satellite," now that scientists have analyzed mistakes from the previous launch, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Saturday.

“A satellite will be launched from the Sohae [West Sea] Space Center in North Korea by a Unha-3 rocket between December 10 and 22,” the KCNA said. North Korea will fully comply with “relevant international regulations.”

The international community, including the US, Japan and China, expressed concern over the announcement, saying North Korea’s rocket launch would be “a highly provocative act threatening peace and security in the region.”

North Korea is banned from any ballistic missile activity by UN Security Council resolutions.

South Korea’s Foreign Minister, Kim Sung-hwan, held an emergency meeting with ministry officials yesterday to discuss the launch.

“The North has usually tried to influence the South’s elections,” President Lee Myung-bak said Saturday in an interview with foreign media, but he said the planned rocket launch will not have a big impact on the presidential election on December 19.

The event will be North Korea’s second attempt to launch a long-range rocket since Kim Jong-un took power following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, at the end of 2011. 

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