All eyes will be on North Korean satellite launch

The UN agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said Tuesday that it received official notice of the launch from North Korean authorities, who said the rocket is meant to put a satellite into orbit.

Still, South Korea, the United States and other regional powers view the North's satellite launch as a cover for testing its ballistic missile technology, which is banned under U.N. resolutions.

South Korea says that the test would violate a ban on ballistic missile tests, and comes just a few weeks after North Korea tested a nuclear weapon for the fourth time.

North Korea is under mounting worldwide pressure to call off a planned rocket launch seen by the West as another missile test.

Reports of the planned launch drew fresh US calls for tougher United Nations sanctions that are already under discussion in response to North Korea's January 6 nuclear test. Pyongyang's launch announcement came on the day Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, arrived in North Korea for a visit.

Japan has issued an order to shoot down any such "missile" which may fall on its territory.

NHK television, citing diplomatic sources it did not identify, reported that it had been "confirmed that a mobile launch pad in North Korea's eastern coastal area was on the move".

President Park Geun-hye says the global community must make North Korea realize that it can not survive without abandoning its nuclear ambitions. In reality, most experts think the weapon was not the kind of fusion-based city-destroyer we think of when we hear "H-bomb", but rather a less dramatic nuclear weapon, called a boosted fission bomb. The country has notified at least three United Nations agencies of this development, which could take place between February 8 and 25, Reuters reported.

The most obvious is that only a month ago, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un claimed that the country had successfully denoted a hydrogen bomb for the first time.

So far, China's entirely state-controlled media has provided only limited coverage of the North's announcement and remained mum on Wu's mission, possibly to limit the effect on public opinion that has grown increasingly critical of Pyongyang.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea said Thursday it has detected preparations by rival North Korea to fire a long-range rocket and warned that Seoul will shoot down any rocket parts flying over South Korean territory.

"We are seriously concerned about that", Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Wednesday when asked by the press to comment on North Korea's plans. After expressing regret over the collapse of the Six Party Talks - China's preferred method for resolving the Korean nuclear issue, Lu effectively blamed the United States for North Korea's recent nuclear tests.

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