North Korea readies longer range rocket, risks remain

By REUTERS
April 9, 2012 05:31

 
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North Korea has readied a rocket for a launch from a forested valley in its remote northwest this week that will showcase the reclusive state's ability to fire a missile with the capacity to hit the continental United States.

Pyongyang says the rocket, to be launched this week, will only carry a weather satellite, but South Korea and the United States say it is a test of a ballistic missile. And although the risk of it veering off course is low, guidance remains its weakest point.

In a rare move, reporters were taken to the new Sohae launch station, close to the border with China, where work was in progress to ready the 30-meter high Unha-3 rocket and its satellite.

The three-stage rocket was on the launch platform, indicating the launch will go ahead on plan between April 12-16.

"Supreme Commander Kim Jong-un made a very bold decision, that is why you are allowed to be this close to the launch site," site director Jang Myong Jin told visiting foreign journalists on Sunday.

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