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North Korea rocket set for imminent lift off

Pyongyang is also eschewing requests from China – one of its few allies – to exercise restraint over the launch, which most governments believe is the test-firing of a ballistic missile.

North Korea announced in March that it would launch a rocket carrying a Bright Star 3 Earth-observation satellite between April 12 and 16 as part of its celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the nation.

The launch is also tied to the regime’s promise to its people that the year 2012 would see North Korea develop into “a strong and prosperous” nation.

Analysts say the expensive celebrations are in part designed to be a distraction from the hunger and repression of every-day life in the world’s most isolated state, as well as an effort to boost the standing of the inexperienced Kim Jung-un.

Japan has set up a Crisis Management Centre at the Prime Minister’s Office and members of the cabinet were instructed to be at their offices at 7 am this morning.

“We are taking these steps as a precaution for an emergency situation,” Osamu Fujimura, the chief cabinet secretary, said on Wednesday. “I would ask the general public to remain calm.”

Earlier in the week, David Cameron and Yoshihiko Noda, the Japanese prime minister, agreed to request action from the United Nations Security Council if North Korea goes ahead with the launch.

Tokyo has stationed Aegis destroyers in the Sea of Japan and batteries of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors in Okinawa, which is on the anticipated flight path of the rocket.

The US has agreed to support similar action in the UN.

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Posted by on Apr 12 2012. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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