North Korea rocket shows home-grown technology boost: South Korea

Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:58am EST
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By Ju-min Park

SEOUL (Reuters) - Reclusive North Korea made most of the key parts of the long-range rocket it launched in December, South Korea said on Monday, evidence of home-grown technology moving it a closer to designing a missile system capable of hitting the United States.

The North is banned from carrying out missile and nuclear-related activities under U.N. sanctions and the Security Council is closing on a resolution that will see it punished again for December's launch.

"North Korea is believed to have made a majority of components itself, although it used commercially available products imported from overseas," South Korea's Defense Ministry said in a report.

The North's ultimate aim, Washington believes, is to design an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead that could hit the United States, dramatically increasing Pyongyang's military and diplomatic clout.

Pyongyang has continued work on its nuclear testing facilities according to satellite imagery, potentially paving the way for a third nuclear bomb test.

Its prior two tests, in 2006 and 2009, prompted the U.N. sanctions.

South Korea retrieved and analyzed parts of the first-stage rocket that dropped in the waters off its west coast.

"Despite component supply and adoption of advanced technologies being limited due to international sanctions, North Korea increased completion of its long-range missile technology through several tests and experiences," the ministry report said.   Continued...

A video grab from KCNA shows the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket launching at North Korea's West Sea Satellite Launch Site, at the satellite control centre in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province in this video released by KCNA in Pyongyang December 13, 2012. KCNA said the video was taken December 12, 2012. REUTERS/KCNA