N.Korea 'Admits Missile Connection' in Rocket Launch

North Korea internally describes the space rocket it launched in December as a long-range ballistic missile called Hwasong-13, the Asahi Shimbun reported Sunday.

The Japanese daily said that the North put a missile of that name on display at a new arms and rocket exhibition hall, which opened in April last year in Pyongyang.

The paper cited sources as saying that an exhibition guide described the rocket as being 2.4 m in diameter and 26 m long, with the upper stage removed because of the low ceiling. That is more or less the same size as the rocket launched in December last year.

Also on display besides the Hwasong-13 was a full-size Scud-type missile that the regime has developed since the 1980s. "According to the Federation of American Scientists, North Korea uses the name Hwasong-5 for its Scud-B missiles and Hwasong-6 for its Scud-C missiles," the Asahi said.

The North is ostensibly furious at the UN Security Council for sanctioning it over the launch of the rocket, which it claims was developed for peaceful purposes. But internally, it is describing the rocket as a long-range ballistic missile, the paper added.

Meanwhile, the daily said the regime in late January ordered border guards to be on higher alert, a similar instructions to one given prior to the launch of the rocket in December.

And senior North Korean officials visiting China were ordered to return home immediately.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 05, 2013 10:04 KST