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3. N.Korea 'intentionally destroyed' 1st stage

Japanese officials believe that North Korea deliberately destroyed the first stage of the rocket that it launched on Sunday. They think the explosion was not a technical problem as the main body continued to fly.

North Korea announced that it had launched a satellite-carrying rocket. But the launch is widely believed to have been a test of ballistic missile technology.

Japanese officials said the object had 5 parts.
What appeared to be the first stage dropped into the sea after traveling 500 kilometers.

An object believed to be the second stage fell away after a 2,500-kilometer flight. The rocket passed over Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan at an altitude of 400 kilometers.

The Defense Ministry estimates that the main body had almost the same trajectory as the previous rocket fired in December 2012.

South Korean defense sources have disclosed that the first part exploded and the fragments fell into the sea. They speculate that North Korea may have done this intentionally to prevent other countries from retrieving the first stage.
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