North Korea Says It Will Launch a Long-range Rocket Between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea is gearing up to fire a long-range rocket this month in a defiant move expected to raise the stakes of a global standoff over its missile and nuclear programs.

The North’s announcement Saturday that it would launch the rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22 came as President Barack Obama prepares for his second term and as South Korea holds presidential elections Dec. 19.

It would be North Korea’s second launch attempt under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father Kim Jong Il’s death nearly a year ago. Some analysts have expressed skepticism that North Korea has corrected whatever caused the embarrassing misfire of its last rocket eight months ago. That launch earned the country widespread international condemnation.

A spokesman for North Korea’s Korean Committee for Space Technology, however, said scientists have “analyzed the mistakes” made in the failed April launch and improved the precision of its Unha rocket and Kwangmyongsong satellite, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

The statement said the launch was a request of late leader Kim Jong Il. He died on Dec. 17, 2011, and North Koreans are expected to mark that date this year with some fanfare. The space agency said the rocket would be mounted with a polar-orbiting Earth observation satellite, and maintained its right to develop a peaceful space program.

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  • poooffffff !

    Maybe the Mayan calender is right?

  • CSN

    Who is going to LET THEM do it? Honestly…that little dictator is saber rattling and no one is going to stop him? Just say, if you launch your rocket, you won’t launch another, you’ll be gone.

  • Dave AZ

    If they think they have the right to launch one of these, don’t we have just as much right to shoot it right out of the sky? We can do it without disclosing too much of our military capability. The national rush just seeing one of their rockets being shot down would be inspiring and it would humiliate N. Korea with its Widdle Dictator into submission. Shoot it down just for fun. All the saber rattling is for the N.Korean People anyway – shows them how ‘powerful’ Mr. Little-bitty is. The Crackpot Kim Jong-un!