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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019
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North Korea 'to test long-range rocket' some time this month

The long-range rocket test will coincide with elections in South Korea, and the anniversary of Kim Jong-Il’s death.

A TV news report shows a computer generated image of North Korea's long-range rocket, which failed after its first launch in April.
A TV news report shows a computer generated image of North Korea's long-range rocket, which failed after its first launch in April.
Image: Lee Jin-man/AP

NORTH KOREA says it will launch a long-range rocket sometime between December 10th and 22nd, a move likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul ahead of a South Korean presidential election in three weeks.

This will be North Korea’s second launch attempt under leader Kim Jong-Un, who took power following his father Kim Jong-Il’s death nearly a year ago.

Washington considers North Korea’s rocket tests to be veiled covers for tests of long-range missile technology banned by the United Nations.

An unnamed spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology said North Korea had “analysed the mistakes” made in a failed April launch and improved the precision of the rocket and satellite, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

The April launch broke up shortly after liftoff, but quickly drew condemnation from the United Nations, Washington, Seoul and other capitals.

The North’s statement said a rocket carrying a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite will blast off southward from its northwest coastal space center.

The United States has criticised North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles as a threat to Asian and world security.

North Korea under its young leader has pledged to bolster its nuclear arsenal unless Washington scraps what Pyongyang calls a hostile policy.

Read: What went wrong for North Korea’s rocket?

In pictures: Welcome to the North Korean space control centre!

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Associated Press

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