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article imageNorth Korea announces December rocket launch

By Katerina Nikolas     Dec 2, 2012 in World
North Korea has announced it will launch an Unha-3 rocket between December 10 and 22. South Korea has accused its northern neighbour of attempting to interfere in the presidential election, due on December 19.
North Korea has said the planned rocket launch is a purely "peaceful, scientific" mission. AFP reported the Korean Committee for Space Technology stated: "A safe flight path has been chosen so that parts of the carrier rocket that might fall during the launch process would not affect neighbouring countries." However the country's detractors accuse Pyongyang of using the launch to disguise "tests for an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead."
The chosen dates of the North Korean launch are significant. December 17 marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Kim Jong-il, while South Korean presidential elections are scheduled for December 19.
The isolated nation has provoked the wrath of nearby countries with the announcement. Bloomberg reported South Korean President Lee Myung Bak accused Pyongyang of trying to interfere in his country's elections. He warned: "North Koreans must recognize the grim fact that their futile campaigns only aggravate the feelings of South Koreans toward the North."According to the FT China has expressed "deep concern" at the proposed rocket launch but advised all sides “keep a cool head." Meanwhile Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has cancelled scheduled talks between the two countries.
More about North korea, rocket launch, Korean Committee for Space Technology, Unha3 rocket, Sohae Space Center
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