North Korea rocket launch window to open Sunday

By Daniel Uria  |  Feb. 6, 2016 at 10:46 AM
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PYONGYANG, North Korea, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- North Korea has moved the launch window for a rocket forward by one day, preparing to launch as early as Sunday.

The rocket, which North Korea says will be used to launch a satellite into space, is now set to launch between Feb. 7 and Feb. 14 after an original launch window of Feb. 8 through Feb. 25. The new window places the rocket's launch in advance of former dictator Kim Jong Il's birthday on Feb. 16.

North Korea began fueling the rocket for launch on Friday. No other changes were announced, as the rocket's flight path and area where the debris would fall remain unchanged.

The plans for the rocket's launch have made some nations uneasy. United States officials said the same type of rocket can be used to fire a long-range ballistic missile.

South Korea warned that North Korea would pay a "grave price" for carrying out the launch which they view as a "direct challenge against the international community".

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shared in that sentiment, condemning the launch.

"Forcing the launch is a clear violation against the [United Nations Security Council] resolution and a serious provocation against the security to our country," he said.

When the launch was originally announced, the U.S. Navy positioned a guided-missile destroyer based in Japan to shoot down the rocket if it is believed to be a threat.

North Korea executed a satellite launch in 2012, but it is unclear whether that satellite remains in orbit. The nation also drew criticism earlier this year when they claimed to have conducted a hydrogen bomb test on Jan. 6.

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