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North Korea extends rocket test

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.

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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.

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