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Saturday 20 September 2014

North Korea plans new rocket test

Published 01/12/2012 | 10:49

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North Korea has said it will launch a long-range rocket this month (AP Photo)

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.

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This would 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.

The announcement comes several weeks after President Barack Obama was elected to a second term in the United States and ahead of his January inauguration.

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.

Press Association

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