North Korea rocket ‘has 10,000km range’

by BBC News Asia  |  published on December 24, 2012

North KoreaNorth Korea’s recent rocket launch shows it has the ability to fire a rocket more than 10,000km (6,200 miles), South Korean officials say.

The estimate, which would potentially put the Western US in range, was based on an analysis of rocket debris.

However, there was no confirmation that the North had the re-entry technology needed to deliver a missile.

Experts believe North Korea is also years away from gaining the ability to mount a nuclear bomb on a missile.

North Korea launched the Unha-3 rocket on 12 December, in defiance of sanctions and international warnings.

It was the first time the North had made successful use of a three-stage rocket to put a satellite into orbit, and observers said it appeared to mark a step towards fielding an intercontinental range ballistic missile.

“As a result of analysing the material of Unha-3 (North Korea’s rocket), we judged North Korea had secured a range of more than 10,000km in case the warhead is 500-600kg,” a South Korean defence ministry official told journalists.

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