North Korea’s recently-launched Unha-3 rocket said to have military purpose

In a Sunday disclosure, South Korean defense officials said that the Unha-3 rocket, launched successfully by North Korea on December 12, was capable of traveling over 6,000 miles; thereby implying that such a rocket could strike the US.

According to the officials, a scrutiny of the North Korean rocket's debris - chiefly including a recovered oxidizer tank which had been part of one of the boosters of the rocket - by South Korean technicians has revealed that there is evidence to suggest that the rocket had military purposes.

In addition, the officials also said that there are also evident indications of North Korea's technological ties with Iran in its attempts in the direction of developing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

While North Korea has been asserting that the Unha-3 rocket launch was part of the country's peaceful space program, the revelation by South Korean Defense Ministry's intelligence officials and rocket scientists suggests that the rocket's launch underscored North Korea's tests of a ballistic missile - with a warhead of between 1,100 and 1,300 pounds - which could put the US West Coast in range.

About the evidence which suggests Unha-3 rocket's military purposes, an unidentified senior South Korean military intelligence official told the reporters on Sunday: "They (North Korea) efficiently developed a three-stage long-range missile by using their existing Rodong and Scud missile technology."