DPRK seems to be disassembling long-range rocket

Satellite images show the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) seems to be disassembling a long- range rocket it was planning to put a satellite into orbit, local broadcaster YTN reported Tuesday.

South Korean and U.S. forces are currently analyzing satellite images, an unspecified government source told YTN, adding the DPRK might be trying to reassemble the three-stage rocket to fix technical problems or have scrapped its launch plan for now.

The news came after the DPRK announced it will extend the launch window by another week until Dec. 29 due to a “technical deficiency” in a rocket engine module.

Seoul and its ally Washington believe the planned launch to be a disguised missile test and a violation of UN resolutions.

The DPRK, whose previous mission in April ended in failure as the rocket crashed into the sea shortly after the liftoff, has countered that its “polar-orbiting earth observation satellite” is for peaceful scientific purposes only.

Both the first anniversary of the death of late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il and South Korea’s presidential election fall within the extended launch period.

Xinhua