Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Korean launch is called a missile test

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean technicians scrutinizing the debris of the North Korean rocket launched this month have found evidence suggesting the rocket's military purposes and the North's technological ties with Iran in efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, South Korean officials said Sunday.

North Korea insists that its Unha-3 rocket, launched Dec. 12 to put an earth-observation satellite in orbit, was part of its peaceful space program. But intelligence officials and rocket scientists affiliated with the South Korean Defense Ministry said that through the rocket launching, North Korea was testing a ballistic missile that can fly more than 6,000 miles, with a warhead of about 1,100 to 1,300 pounds, putting the United States' west coast in range.

They spoke to the media after analyzing the rocket's flight data and the debris of its oxidizer tank, which they recovered in waters off South Korea two days after the launch. Over the weekend, the South Korean navy also salvaged the remnants of the rocket's fuel tank and part of its engine, which officials hoped would provide more clues to the North's rocket technology.

The design of the oxidizer tank suggested an Iran connection in North Korea's rocket program, a senior military intelligence official said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity.

The officials said it marked a great technological advance for North Korea to launch a rocket successfully and put an object into orbit. All North Korea's previous rocket tests had failed to reach orbit, according to Western officials.

The officials said there was no confirmation of whether the North had the re-entry technology needed for the warhead of an intercontinental ballistic missile to survive the heat and vibration when it crashes through the Earth's atmosphere.

U.N. Security Council resolutions, imposed after the North's nuclear teats in 2006 and 2009, ban the country, a U.N. member, from launching any rocket that uses ballistic missile technology.

North Korean launch is called a missile test 12/23/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 23, 2012 10:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two Boca Ciega students arrested on charges they brought gun to high school football game


    PINELLAS PARK — Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for having a loaded semi-automatic handgun with them at a Friday night football game at Pinellas Park High School.

    Two Boca Ciega High School students were arrested for bringing a weapon on school property on Friday night at a high school football game at Pinellas Park High School.
  2. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005


    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  3. Crash at U.S. 19 in Pinellas Park kills one, shuts down traffic


    PINELLAS PARK — A man is dead after a crash between two cars at the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and 70th Avenue N just after 7 a.m. Saturday.

    Pinellas Park police are investigating the death of a man during a crash on U.S. 19 early Saturday. (Pinellas Park police)
  4. Tropics watch: The latest on Harvey and what systems could hit Florida


    While Eastern and Central America monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Harvey, two tropical disturbances are moving through the Atlantic.

  5. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge


    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]