North Korea extends rocket launch window due to 'technical problems'
By Jack Kim | December 10, 2012 7:42 PM EST
North Korea has extended the window for a widely condemned long-range rocket launch by a week after discovering a "technical deficiency", the isolated state's news agency said on Monday.
The launch, viewed by the United States, Japan and South Korea as a test for developing a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, had been scheduled for December 10-22 to coincide with the first anniversary of the death of former North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il.
"(Engineers) found a technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module of the rocket carrying the satellite and decided to extend the satellite launch period up to December 29," the KCNA news agency quoted a space agency spokesman as saying.
North Korea is banned from carrying out any missile or nuclear-related tests by U.N. resolutions imposed in 2006 and 2009 after it conducted nuclear tests. A third rocket launch, in April, ended in failure.
The North insists this launch is aimed merely at putting a weather satellite into orbit. But it is believed to be developing an intercontinental missile with a range of more than 6,700 km which would have the capacity to hit the continental United States.
A South Korean news report said on Monday that the North was moving a new rocket component to its missile test site. A trailer carrying the component, believed to be a third-stage rocket, was seen by satellite on Saturday being moved from a missile plant in Pyongyang to the Tongchang-ri missile launch site, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted a government source as saying.
Officials at South Korea's intelligence service and the military declined to confirm the report, citing their policy of not commenting on intelligence matters.
It is impossible to verify events inside North Korea, which is one of the world's most closed states that tightly controls news and information about its military and its leadership.
This launch was timed to mark the first anniversary of the death of Kim Jong-il, although it also coincides with elections in North Korea's historically bitter foes, South Korea and Japan.
Japan has installed a missile interceptor at its Defence Ministry headquarters in case the rocket goes astray, a procedure that has become routine ahead of North Korean rocket launches. The planned flight path does not go near Japan.
The April launch failed minutes after blast off, something the North owned up to in a rare admission of failure.
(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Most Popular Slideshows
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- National Ice Cream Day: Most-Ordered Flavors and Toppings by Americans [See Photos]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
- Celebrities Whose Life Changed Because of Sexual Abuse and Molestation
Join the Conversation
- Fresh Leak Hints iPhone 6 Price and Release Date; 4.7-Inches iPhone 6 Sapphire Display Scratched in Test; New Spigen Cases Out
- iPhone 6 2014 Release Date Very Soon as Apple Orders 120M New iPhones from Foxconn – Report
- Google Nexus 6 on Release Date Will Sport 2K Display Panel & Lower Price Tag – Report
- Motorola Moto G Vs. Xiaomi Mi3 – Low in Price, High -level Features
- FCC Approves Sony Xperia Z3 for U.S. Market
- Killer Xiaomi Mi4 at $499 Comes With 5.5-Inch Quad HD Display, Snapdragon 805 Processor, 3GB RAM and More
- End of Times Indicators: Japan’s Mount Fuji in ‘Critical State’ to Erupt, Could Affect At Least 1.2M People