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North Korea preparing rocket for launch

Published By United Press International
SEOUL, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A rocket launch from North Korea may take place as early as Monday as fuel-injection work gets under way, a South Korean military source said.

North Korea informed a maritime organization of the United Nations of its plans to deploy a long-range rocket equipped with a satellite this month. A senior military source in South Korea told the Yonhap news agency that the North Koreans were preparing to inject fuel into a nearby storage facility for what could possibly be a Monday launch.

"As soon as (the North) completes injecting fuel into the storage, it is expected to supply the rocket with fuel," the source said on the condition of anonymity. "Fuel injection could begin Saturday."

Yonhap references reports from unnamed Japanese media outlets that suggested the launch would occur Dec. 17, the first anniversary of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. That would also be two days before South Koreans vote in presidential elections.

North Korea in April broke a pledge to halt nuclear and military testing with a failed launch attempt. Similar launches in 2006 and 2009 coincided with nuclear tests by the North Koreans.

The rocket for December is said to have a range that could reach the U.S. West Coast.
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