North Korea spent USD 1.3 bln on rocket programmes this year: Report
North Korea had spend almost 1.3 billion dollars on its rocket program this year, report from South Korea's government have suggested.
The two rockets launched this year, this week's mission and a failed attempt in April, cost 600 million dollars, while the launch site itself is estimated at 400 million dollars, said an official from South Korea's Ministry of Unification.
According to CNN, the official said that other related facilities add another 300 million dollars.
"This is equivalent to acquiring 4.6 million tons of corn," the report quoted the official, as saying.
"If this was used for solving the food shortage issue, North Koreans would not have to worry about food for four to five years," he added.
Whatever the cost, what is known is that North Korea is one of the poorest countries in Asia, with an economy worth just 40 billion dollars, according to the CIA World Factbook.
According to the report, Cheong Wook-Sik, Director of South Korea's Peace Network in Seoul, pointed out that the price of Pyongyang's rocket launches might be lower than government estimates because North Korean workers earn much less than their southern neighbours.
The Kaesong industrial complex, on the border with South Korea, has some of the country's highest wage earners at about 100 dollars per month, says Cheong, 14-year chief of the South Korean non-governmental organization.
"This is very high compared to the rest of North Korea. If you're not working in Kaesong, the average worker salary drops to an average of perhaps 50 dollars per month," the report quoted him, as saying.