North Korea Vows to Launch Rocket in December

PHOTO:North Koreas Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea, April 8, 2012.
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North Korea is vowing to launch a long range rocket in December -- nine months after its failed missile launch attempt in April.

According to state media, the launch will take place between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22.

The rocket that was launched from the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in the northern part of the country on April 13 failed to enter orbit.

About 81 seconds into that launch, the United States detected a substantially larger than expected flare and by 10 minutes after launch, the rocket was no longer on several radar screens, U.S. officials said at the time.

North Korea state media acknowledged the launch failure after U.S. and South Korean officials reported the rocket disintegrated.

Had the launch been successful, the rocket's third stage was expected to burn up in the atmosphere about 10 minutes after launch, with debris falling north of Australia.

PHOTOS: An Inside Look At North Korea

The anticipated December launch would the second under Kim Jong Un, who assumed party leadership in January, weeks after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.

North Korea claims the rocket is for satellite purposes and the one that is set to launch in December will be an improved version.

But the outside world sees it as veiled cover to test long range missile technology banned by the United Nations.

"A North Korean 'satellite' launch would be a highly provocative act that threatens peace and security in the region," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

The rocket launch would defy United Nations Security Council resolutions that prohibit North Korea from testing ballistic missiles.

"Devoting scarce resources to the development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles will only further isolate and impoverish North Korea. The path to security for North Korea lies in investing in its people and abiding by its commitments and international obligations," Nuland said.

ABC News's Joohee Cho contributed to this report.

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