North Korea is set to launch its second long-range rocket carrying a satellite by mid-December in a bid to make up for a failed attempt in April, official sources report.
North Korea’s Korean Committee for Space Technology announced on Saturday that the country would launch its Unha-3 rocket between December 10 and 22 from Sohae satellite launch station in North Pyongyang Province to put a “working satellite” in orbit.
On April 13, North Korea launched the 30-meter-long (100-foot-long) Unha-3 (Galaxy-3) that disintegrated in the air soon after blastoff and fell into the ocean.
A spokesman of the Korean Committee for Space Technology said that scientists had “analyzed the mistakes” made in the April launch and promoted the precision of its Unha rocket.
Pyongyang also said that the rocket would carry “polar-orbiting earth observation satellite” for “peaceful scientific and technological” purposes.
According to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), “A safe flight path has been chosen so that parts of the carrier rocket that might fall during the launch process would not affect neighboring countries.”
The US and its allies insist the North Korea’s launches are disguised tests for an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
After Pyongyang’s rocket launch announcement, US State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, issued a statement that said, “A North Korean ‘satellite’ launch would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region.”
She further said that Washington was “consulting closely” with its allies about the issue.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s foreign ministry expressed “grave concern” over Pyongyang’s planned move.
Japan also said that it would postpone talks with North Korea days before top diplomats from the two sides were due to meet in Beijing.
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