March 25, 2012 Spacewar.com (AFP)
Seoul - North Korea has transported the main body of a long-range rocket to a site in the far northwest of the country in preparation for next month's launch, Seoul's military said Sunday.
"South Korean and US military authorities are aware that North Korea has moved the main body of a long-range missile (to Tongchang-ri) and is preparing for launch," a defence ministry spokesman told AFP without giving details.
The remark confirmed a report by Japan's Fuji Television that a train had taken the main body to the country's new launch site on Saturday.
The North has announced it will fire the rocket to put a satellite into orbit between April 12-16 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding president Kim Il-Sung.
The United States and other nations say that the exercise is a disguised missile test, and that ballistic missile launches for any purpose are banned under UN resolutions.
The launch is expected to dominate talks later Sunday between visiting US President Barack Obama and his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak. It will also be a key topic on the fringes of a 53-nation nuclear security summit starting Monday in Seoul.
Preparations for the launch "have entered a full-fledged stage of action", the North said Friday.
It warned the South's conservative government not to raise the launch or the North's nuclear programme at the Seoul summit, threatening "strongest counter-measures which no one can imagine".