N. Korea completes installation of long-range rocket on launch pad

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N. Korea completes installation of long-range rocket on launch pad

테스트

(AP=연합뉴스) 북한이 국제사회의 우려에도 불구하고 또다시 장거리 로켓을 발사하겠다고 1일 발표했다. 북한이 이번에 장거리 로켓을 쏘게 되면 김일성 주석의 100회 생일에 즈음한 지난 4월13일 `광명성 3호39를 발사했다가 궤도 진입에 실패한 뒤 8개월 만에 재시도하게 되는 것이다. 사진은 지난 4월 8일 발사를 앞둔 북한 동창리 미사일 발사장에 장착된 광명성 3호(은하 3호).

North Korea has assembled all three stages of a long-range rocket on its launch pad, a South Korean official said Wednesday, the latest sign that preparations to fire off the rocket is in full swing.

"North Korea is believed to have completed the installation of a long-range rocket on the launch pad" at the Dongchang-ri base in the country's northwest, a government official said on condition of anonymity. "Some workers are pulling out of the site."

The North is now expected to install support equipment, such as radar, cameras and measuring equipment before fueling the rocket. Should fueling take place over the weekend, the rocket is expected to be launched between Dec. 10-12.

"If the North begins fueling the rocket, fuel tanks will be seen around the launch site," the official said. "If many fuel tanks are spotted, we should take that as meaning that fueling has begun."

Once fueling is completed, the rocket should be launched within three days, he said.

Pyongyang announced Saturday it will launch a long-range rocket to put what it calls a "working satellite" into orbit, with much of the world suspecting it is in reality testing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

테스트

(서울=연합뉴스) 장예진 기자 = 북한은 3단으로 이뤄진 장거리 로켓을 발사대에 장착하는 작업을 5일 모두 완료한 것으로 알려져 정치적 요인 등 외부 변수가 없다면 주말께에는 연료를 주입하고 이달 10∼12일 발사할 가능성이 큰 것으로 관측되고 있다

Officials at South Korea's state weather agency forecast no precipitation at the launch site between Dec. 10 and 22, although it will be cloudy. That means the communist nation can go ahead and fire the rocket.

The planned launch will be the North's second launch attempt under current leader Kim Jong-un, following a failed launch in April. The young leader took power following his father's death last December.

On Monday, North Korea notified the U.N. shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization, about the launch.

Coordinates provided by Pyongyang showed the rocket's first stage would fall into the Yellow Sea between the Korean Peninsula and China, and the second stage drop-off would take place off the Philippines.

South Korea has warned it will take North Korea to the U.N. Security Council and press for new sanctions if the rocket launch proceeds, though it is unclear whether China, the only major ally of the North, would agree to further sanctions.

There have been questions about the effectiveness of any additional sanctions on North Korea, a country that has been under a string of sanctions for decades. Widespread views are that new sanctions would be aimed at identifying and freezing secret North Korean bank accounts overseas.

In 2005, the U.S. imposed similar financial sanctions on Pyongyang by blacklisting a bank in the Chinese territory of Macau with links to the North. That not only froze North Korean money held in Banco Delta Asia, but also scared away other global financial institutions from dealing with Pyongyang for fear they would also be blacklisted.

The measure hit Pyongyang hard, and reports at the time said that North Korean officials had to carry around bags of cash for financial transactions because they were not able to use the international banking system.

Seoul's chief nuclear envoy, Lim Sung-nam, arrived in Washington Tuesday (local time) for discussions on the issue.

"In line with the principle, (we) will first focus consultations on a direction to stop North Korea's missile launch plan," Lim told reporters as he arrived in Washington for a three-day trip.

He headed straight to the State Department for a series of meetings with Ambassador Glyn Davies, Washington's top envoy on Pyongyang, and Wendy Sherman, under secretary of state for political affairs.

Lim and Davies are also scheduled to have a trilateral meeting later in the day with Shinsuke Sugiyama, the director general of the Japanese foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, who serves as Tokyo's point man on Pyongyang.

"We need to talk about specific ways" to block North Korea from firing a long-range rocket, Lim said. "We will discuss what measures are necessary to maximize diplomatic efforts."

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