North Korea said preparations to launch a satellite were complete today and liftoff was imminent, as U.S., Japanese and South Korean warships with radar plied waters near the communist nation to monitor what they fear is a long-range missile test.
Spy satellites trained high-resolution cameras on a coastal launch pad for a launch the North earlier advised international authorities would take place sometime between today and Wednesday.
“Preparations for launching ‘Kwangmyongsong-2,’ an experimental communications satellite, by carrier rocket ‘Unha-2’ have been completed at the satellite launching ground in the east coastal area,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported, citing information from the Korean Committee of Space Technology. “The satellite will be launched soon.”
Washington, Seoul and Tokyo suspect North Korea’s real motive is to test its long-range missile technology. The plans have sparked alarm because North Korea has acknowledged it has nuclear weapons and has repeatedly broken promises to shelve its nuclear program or halt rocket tests.