North Korea readies longer range rocket; Japan, S.Korea wary
News On Japan via Reuters -- Apr 09
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-metre 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.
North Korea announced plans to launch the satellite-bearing rocket to coincide with the 100th birthday celebrations of its founder, Kim Il-sung, a move that will help cement the prestige of his grandson Kim Jong-un, who took power in December.
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