N. Korea rocket launch estimated at $850M

April 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM

SEOUL, April 2 (UPI) -- North Korea's upcoming long-range rocket launch is estimated to cost $850 million, enough to feed 19 million people for one year, South Korea said.

A South Korean military officials said North Korea should spend the money on food for its hungry people, rather than rocket technology, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday.

"North Korea has suffered a deficit of 400,000 tons of food every year. So, the money could resolve the problem of food shortages for six years," the official told Yonhap.

North Korea said the rocket launch, which is opposed by the international community because of concerns the North is trying to test international ballistic missile technology banned under a U.N. resolution, is designed to put a satellite into orbit.

The launch coincides with the 100th anniversary of North Korea's founder Kim II Sung. Yonhap said North Korea is expected to spend $2 billion to celebrate the April 15th anniversary.

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