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  Military
Rocket to cost N. Korea equivalent of feeding 19m people for 1 year
02/04/2012 | LOC17:55
14:55 GMT
| World News
تصغير الخطالشكل الأساسيتكبير الخط
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) mk.sd KUNA 021755 Apr 12NNNN
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