North Korea agreed to a moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests last month in Beijing in exchange for substantial food assistance from the United States. Pyongyang then announced plans to send an Earth observation satellite into orbit using a long-range rocket.
The launch is meant to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of North Korean found Kim Il Sung. The North Korean government invited members of the foreign media to the launch pad to allay concerns the deployment would be in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions banning intercontinental missiles.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that if North Korea goes ahead as planned, the launch would represent a "clear and serious violation" of its international obligations.
North Korea remained undeterred, announcing it was fueling the rocket in preparation of a launch this week.
"It's impossible to imagine that we would be able to provide the nutritional assistance that we had planned on providing, given what would be a flagrant violation of North Korea's basic international obligations," said Carney.