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Pyongyang Rocket Launch Seen As Imminent

Technicians watch live images of the rocket Unha-3 at the satellite control room of the space center on the outskirts of Pyongyang.
North Korea's threatened launch of a rocket into space is seen as imminent and could come as early as April 12, despite Western pleas for Pyongyang to avoid violating UN sanctions with the step.

The normally secretive North Korean government has not announced exactly when the launch will take place, although it has gone to great lengths to show off the preparations to the international community in recent months.

On April 11, North Korean officials said the Unha-3 rocket was being fueled.

The United States and others suspect North Korea is using the rocket launch to test a long-range missile, something it is prohibited from doing under UN sanctions.

Pyongyang says the rocket will only put a weather satellite into orbit.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned Pyongyang not to go ahead with the launch, saying it "would be a direct threat to regional security."

White House spokesman Jay Carney reiterated that "this kind of blatant disregard for their commitments makes it impossible" for the United States to go ahead with a food-aid deal with North Korea.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa