North Korea completes preparation for rocket launch

April 4th, 2009 - 9:57 am ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Tokyo, April 4 (DPA) North Korea has completed preparations for what it calls a communications satellite to be launched “soon”, Japanese media reported Saturday, citing Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean official as saying the launch was expected within hours.

North Korea has said it intends to launch a commercial satellite into space some time between Saturday and Wednesday. Washington and Seoul suspect Pyongyang is actually preparing to test a Taepodong-2 missile that could theoretically reach Alaska and carry a nuclear warhead. Its first test of such a missile in 2006 failed.

The United States was Friday making last-minute efforts to convince North Korea to stop the launch, according to the US envoy to the region, who warned the North Koreans should expect consequences if the launch goes ahead as planned.

Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, the State Department’s special representative for North Korea, said the US was pressing its case against the Stalinist regime through a variety of diplomatic avenues.

“We have continued to urge as we urge now of the DPRK not to launch this,” Bosworth told reporters in Washington. “Whether it’s a satellite launch or missile launch in our judgement makes no difference. It is a provocative act.”

Earlier Friday, in Strasbourg, France, US President Barack Obama warned North Korea not to go ahead with its “provocative” plans.

“They should stop the launch,” Obama said.

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