N.Korea 'Spent at Least $30 Million on Missile Development'

    March 16, 2009 08:21

    Experts speculate that impoverished North Korea spent at least US$30 million on development of a missile it is apparently poised to launch. While the North says it is launching a rocket to propel a satellite into orbit, many in the West are convinced this is in fact a Taepodong-2 long-range missile.

    When North Korea test-launched seven medium and long-range missiles in July 2006, South Korean military authorities estimated the total cost at about $63.69 million (about W60 billion according to the exchange rate at that time).

    Grand National Party spokesman Yoon Sang-hyun on Friday said his party estimates North Korea spent about $30 million test-launching the Taepodong-2 missile three years ago. "They should have spent the money to feed and clothe their people," Yoon added.

    North Korea spent approximately $20 million test-firing the Taepodong-1 missile in 1998, and experts guess it cost more this time since performance and capabilities including the airframe and range of the Taepodong-2 missile have been improved by more than 10 percent since the rocket fizzled ignominiously in a test three years ago.

    A researcher with a government-funded think tank said, "North Korea may have spent between W800 billion and W900 billion (US$1=W1,488) developing and manufacturing the rocket for the Taepodong-2 alone."

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