Experts: N. Korea built rocket's key parts

Jan. 20, 2013 at 11:22 PM
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SEOUL, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- North Korea may have built on its own some of the key parts of the long-range rocket it fired last month, South Korean experts said Monday.

The experts are analyzing the rocket's debris retrieved from off the Korean Peninsula after the Communist country launched it Dec. 12 in violation of international sanctions imposed after its nuclear and missile tests. The North claimed the rocket launch was for placing a satellite in orbit, but the United Nations and Western countries condemned it, saying it was a cover by the North to test its inter-continental ballistic missile capability.

The South Korean experts said besides the key parts, other materials are commercially available and could have been imported from outside, Yonhap News Agency reported.

"Although North Korea was restricted from securing advanced technologies and materials due to the international sanction, it has honed its long-range ballistic missile technology through several tests and experiences," a South Korean Defense Ministry official told Yonhap.

The analysis revealed the North used four Nodong missile engines and four vernier engines for the first stage booster to produce a 120-ton thrust, and that about 10 components, including wires, an electric censor and a power voltage converter were found to have been imported from five countries, including China and European nations, the Seoul news agency said. The names of the other countries were not disclosed on diplomatic grounds.

However, the experts said there were no foreign materials that violated the Missile Technology Control Regime guideline issued by 34 countries to limit exports of delivery systems and related technology for ballistic missiles, the report said.

"Although there were no imported goods that violate the MTCR, the international community will have discussions about whether to add the imported materials to the list of controlled items," the official was quoted as saying.

North Korea could face new sanctions for its December launch.

South Korea plans to submit its report to the United Nations and the MTCR members, officials told Yonhap.

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