North Korea said today it would try to launch a long-range rocket in mid-December, a defiant move just eight months after a failed April bid was widely condemned as a violation of a UN ban against developing its nuclear and missile programs. The launch, set for Dec. 10 to 22, would be North Korea's second attempt under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father Kim Jong Il's death nearly a year ago. The announcement followed speculation overseas about stepped-up activity at North Korea's west coast launch pad captured in satellite imagery.
A spokesman for North Korea's Korean Committee for Space Technology said scientists have "analyzed the mistakes" made in the failed April launch and improved the precision of its Unha rocket and Kwangmyongsong satellite, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. Washington considers North Korea's rocket launches to be veiled covers for tests of technology for long-range missiles designed to strike the United States, and such tests are banned by the United Nations.