Missile launch in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on April 5, 2009. The People's Republic of China urged calm while the US administration sought to promote alarm and condemnation. The DPRK conducted an underground nuclear test on May 25., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
North Korea gears up to launch long-range rocket
By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press | December 1, 2012 | Updated: December 1,
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea is gearing up to fire a long-range rocket this month in a defiant move expected to raise the stakes of a global standoff over its missile and nuclear programs.
The North's announcement Saturday that it would launch the rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22 came as President Barack Obama prepares for his second term and as South Korea holds presidential elections Dec. 19.
It 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. Some analysts have expressed skepticism that North Korea has corrected whatever caused the embarrassing misfire of its last rocket eight months ago. That launch earned the country widespread international condemnation.
A spokesman for North Korea's Korean Committee for Space Technology, however, said scientists have "analyzed the mistakes" made in the failed April launch and improved the precision of its Unha rocket and Kwangmyongsong satellite, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
The statement said the launch was a request of late leader Kim Jong Il. He died on Dec. 17, 2011, and North Koreans are expected to mark that date this year with some fanfare. The space agency said the rocket would be mounted with a polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite, and maintained its right to develop a peaceful space program.
Washington considers North Korea's rocket launches to be veiled covers for tests of technology for long-range missiles designed to strike the United States, and such tests are banned by the United Nations.