SEOUL — North Korea on Monday extended the launch period for a controversial long-range rocket by another week until Dec. 29, citing technical problems.
A spokesman for the Korean Committee of Space Technology told state media that scientists found a ‘‘technical deficiency in the first-stage control engine module of the rocket.’’ The statement did not elaborate but said technicians were ‘‘pushing forward’’ with final preparations.
North Korea is making its second attempt of the year to launch a rocket that the United Nations, Washington, Seoul, and others call a cover meant to test technology for missiles that could be used to strike the United States. They have warned North Korea to cancel the launch or face a new wave of sanctions.
The North Koreans call the launch a peaceful bid to advance their space program, and a last wish of late leader Kim Jong Il, who died a year ago, on Dec. 17.
The North had originally set up a 13-day launch window, starting Monday, but it announced early Sunday that it may delay the liftoff because of unspecified reasons.