US: Debris from NKorea rocket risks casualties

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior U.S. military official says debris from a planned North Korean rocket launch could cause casualties.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Lavoy told a congressional hearing Wednesday that North Korea has indicated the rocket will be launched southward, but the U.S. lacks confidence about the rocket's stability and where the impact will be.

He said it is probably intended to land somewhere close to the Philippines or maybe Indonesia. He said South Korea and the Japanese island of Okinawa could also be affected.

North Korea says the rocket will be launched in mid-April to mark the centennial of the communist nation's founder and to put an observation satellite into space.

The United States and South Korea view the launch as a cover for testing long-range missile technology.

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