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'N.Korea replace rocket stage, likely to launch as planned'

December 10, 2012 04:04

SEOUL - North Korea is moving a new rocket component to its missile test site to replace a faulty stage that has delayed its planned launch of a long range rocket and is likely to still go ahead with a launch in December, a South Korean newspaper reported on Monday.

North Korea's state media announced at the weekend that the launch of the rocket carrying what it called a scientific satellite may have to be delayed without disclosing the reasons.

A trailer carrying a new third stage rocket was seen by satellite on Saturday being moved from a missile plant in Pyongyang to the Tongchang-ri missile launch site, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted a government source as saying.

"From the reading of satellite images, it's definite the North delayed the missile launch because of problems with the third stage rocket," the source was quoted as saying.

"The possibility the North will go ahead with the launch before December 22 as announced is high."

Officials at South Korea's spy agency and military declined to confirm the report, citing their policy of not commenting on intelligence related matters.

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