North Korea plans new rocket test
Published 01/12/2012 | 10:49
North Korea has said it will launch a long-range rocket between December 10 and 22, a move likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul ahead of a South Korean presidential election on December 19.
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 lift-off, but quickly drew condemnation from the United Nations, Washington, Seoul and others.
The North's statement said a rocket carrying a polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite will blast off southwards from its north-west coastal space centre.
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.