North Korea plans to test long-range rocket

North Korea recently announced that it will test a long-range rocket sometime between December 10 and December 22, a move that may heighten tensions with Washington and Seoul.

The United States considers the rocket tests to be veiled covers for tests of long-range missile technology that was banned by the United Nations. Washington criticized North Korea's pursuit of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons as a threat to world security, the Journal reports.

North Korea said that it would continue to increase its nuclear arsenal unless the U.S. discards what North Korea refers to as a hostile policy.

In April, North Korea tested a rocket that broke up shortly after liftoff. The United Nations, the U.S. and South Korea condemned the launch.

A spokesman for the Korean Committee for Space Technology said that the country analyzed its mistakes in April to improve the precision of the satellite and rocket, the Korean Central News Agency reports.

North Korea said that a rocket carrying a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite will be launched southward from its northwest coastal space center.

The rocket test will coincide with the anniversary of Kim Jong-Il's death and a South Korean presidential election. The test is the second launch attempt under new leader Kim Jong-Un, the Journal reports.