Official North Korean media on Monday announced the Stalinist government would give itself until nearly the end of the year to fire its space rocket due to a recently uncovered "technical deficiency" in the rocket's first stage Reuters reported.
The launch window is now from Dec. 10 to Dec. 29; it had previously been set to close on Dec. 22.
Japan, South Korea, the United States and other nations condemn the planned long-range rocket launch as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions that ban the aspiring nuclear power from utilizing ballistic missile technology. Pyongyang says it intends only to send a satellite into space.
A new rocket part was detected by satellite being moved to the North's Dongchang-ri missile launch complex on Saturday, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an anonymous government insider.
Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto on Monday said Tokyo would continue "keeping our guard up" for a rocket launch, the Associated Press reported. The government last week authorized its military to attempt a missile intercept if it appears the North's rocket or its debris are a threat to Japanese territory.
The South Korean armed forces similarly declared on Monday they would remain on alert for the North's rocket firing, the Yonhap News Agency reported.
Iranian missile specialists are at Dongchang-ri to provide support to North Korea with the rocket firing, an anonymous official told the Chosun Ilbo. The Security Council for some time has documented suspected missile development cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang, according to Agence France-Presse.