[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
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
As nuclear age approaches eighth decade, visitors flock to historic bomb craters at New Mexico test sites.
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
join our mailing list