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N Korea will push for new rocket launch: Report


The country's Unha-3 carrier rocket had disintegrating in mid-air soon after blast-off during launch on April 13.

SEOUL (AFP): North Korea will push for the launch of a new and bigger rocket as part of a five-year space programme despite last week's failed launch, a pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan said on Monday.

The North last week carried out a rocket test that ended in failure, disintegrating in mid-air soon after blast-off and plunging into the sea in a major embarrassment for the reclusive state.

The launch drew international condemnation despite Pyongyang insisting it was intended to put a satellite into orbit for peaceful purposes.

The Choson Sinbo, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper, on Monday said that the launch was part of the North's five-year space rocket programme which began this year and is aimed at helping the country's "economic development".

It quoted an unnamed official involved in the North's rocket programme as saying Pyongyang would develop a bigger rocket than the one launched last week, the Unha-3.

"(North Korean) scientists and engineers will never give up" despite the failed launch, Choson Sinbo said.

North Korea has been developing missiles for decades both for what it terms self-defence and as a lucrative export commodity.

Also on Monday, South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak accused the North of trying to develop a long-range missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Lee urged the impoverished country to abandon its missile and nuclear programme.

"North Korea may think it can threaten the world and promote internal unity with nuclear weapons and missiles, but this would instead put itself into greater danger," Lee said in a radio address.

The botched rocket launch cost Pyongyang an estimated 850 million, enough to buy some 2.5 million tons of corn and solve its food shortages for six years, he said.

"The only way for North Korea to survive is to abandon nuclear weapons and cooperate with the international community through reform and openness," he said.

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N Korea  Rocket  Space  

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