TOKYO, April 2 (KUNA) -- This month's long-range rocket launch will cost
North Korea some USD 850 million, the equivalent of feeding 19 million people
for one year, Yonhap News Agency reported Monday, citing intelligence
authorities in Seoul.
According to the estimate, revealed by a military official, construction of
the launch site is expected to cost the North USD 400 million, while the
rocket and its payload will cost USD 300 million and USD 150 million,
respectively. The Seoul official said that the rocket's expenses of USD 850
million are enough to buy 2.5 million tons of corn from China and thus can
feed 19 million of the North's 24 million population for a year.
"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 was quoted as saying. Separately, North Korea is expected to spend
USD 2 billion to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of late
President Kim Il-sung, the country's founder and grandfather of current leader
Kim Jong-un, which falls on April 15, the report said.
The North says the rocket launch set for sometime between April 12 and 16
is designed to put an earth observation satellite into orbit. Pyongyang also
says it has a sovereign right to fire the rocket for the peaceful exploration
of space, though the launch is widely seen as a disguised test of
international ballistic missile technology banned under a UN resolution. South
Korea and Japan have warned they would shoot down the rocket if it goes off
course and violates their airspace.
Pyongyang last launched a long-range rocket in April 2009 and conducted its
second nuclear test a month later. North Korea is believed to have advanced
ballistic missile technology, though it is still not clear whether it has
mastered the technology to put a nuclear warhead on a missile. (end)
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