The Straits Times
Published on Dec 23, 2012

North Korea could have US within missile range, says South


SEOUL (REUTERS) - North Korea's rocket launch this month showed it has likely developed technology, long suspected in the West, to fire a warhead more than 10,000km, South Korean military officials said on Sunday, putting the US West Coast in range.

North Korea said the Dec 12 launch put a weather satellite in orbit but, critics said it was aimed at nurturing the kind of technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.

North Korea is banned from testing missile or nuclear technology under United Nations sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear weapons tests, and the UN Security Council condemned the launch.

South Korea retrieved and analysed parts of the first-stage rocket that dropped in the waters off its west coast.