South Korea, Seoul: North Korea’s widely-condemned launch of a long-range rocket could happen as early as today, after Pyongyang shortened and brought forward the start of the launch window. An updated notification sent by Pyongyang to United Nations (UN) agencies on Saturday — a copy of which was released by the South Korean government — said the launch would now take place between Feb 7-14.
The initial window announced by the North on Tuesday had been on February 8-25. The planned satellite launch has been slammed by the international community as a disguised ballistic missile test that amounts to another serious violation of UN resolutions, following the North’s nuclear test last month.
The brief updated notice sent by Pyongyang offered no reason for the date change. South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted a defence ministry official as saying late on Yesterday, “The Seoul government believes that (North Korea) completed its launch preparation, such as fuelling the rocket after erecting it on a launch pad after considering various circumstances”. South Korea’s military was on alert and ready to respond, Yonhap reported another ministry official as saying. Any launch would now take place before the Feb 16 birthday of late leader Kim Jong-Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong-Un.