[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

North Korea delays rocket lift-off

Pyongyang reschedules launch to December 29 due to 'technical deficiency' in rocket engine module.
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 12:23

North Korea has extended the launch period for its planned rocket launch by one week, citing technical problems.

The Korean Committee of Space Technology said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency on Monday that the rocket would kick off on December 29 due to "technical deficiency" in a rocket engine module.

The statement did not elaborate but said technicians were "pushing forward" with final preparations for the launch.

The North had originally set up a 13-day launch window, starting on Monday.

A South Korean newspaper quoted a government source as saying on Monday that North Koreans were replacing the faulty section of the rocket with the help from Iranian missile experts.

The Chosun Ilbo newspaper cited new satellite images that suggested the faulty component was being replaced to allow the launch to go ahead.

"A new third stage of the North's three-stage missile Unha-3 was seen being moved on Saturday afternoon from a missile plant... towards the launch site," the newspaper said.

"A car seen at the... launch site has been spotted driving back and forth from the accommodation facility nearby. It is believed to be carrying Iranian experts," the official told the newspaper.

The Iranians were invited after Pyongyang's last rocket launch in April ended in failure, the newspaper said.

Earlier this month, Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted a western diplomatic source as saying Iran had stationed defence personnel in North Korea since October to strengthen co-operation in missile and nuclear development.

Controversial mission

North Korea and Iran are both subject to international sanctions over their nuclear activities and their governments share a deep hostility towards the US.

North Korea says the rocket launch is a peaceful mission aimed at putting a satellite in orbit.

The United States and its allies view it as a disguised ballistic missile test banned under UN resolutions prompted by the North's nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Leaked US diplomatic cables in 2010 showed that US officials believe Iran has acquired ballistic missile parts from North Korea.

A 2011 UN sanctions report said the two countries were suspected of sharing ballistic missile technology.

349

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.