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World

North Korea's rocket launch imminent

North Korea's official state news agency is reporting preparations for a satellite launch have been completed and will go ahead "soon".

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South Korea's military on high alert ahead of Pyongyang's planned rocket launch.

The threat of the lauch which would breach a UN resolution barring missile activities, has sparked angry reactions from the US, South Korea and neighbouring Japan.

Although North Korea claims it is merely wants to put a communications satellite into orbit, critics believe the real purpose of the rocket launch is to test the launch vehicle, a Taepodong-2 ballistic missile, which could, in theory, reach Alaska or Hawaii.

UN diplomats, anticipating a weekend emergency session of the Security Council if the controversial launch proceeds, said that a draft resolution had begun circulating that could reaffirm and tighten enforcement of sanctions imposed in October 2006 five days after a North Korean nuclear test.

North Korea has said it would launch a rocket at some time between Saturday to Wednesday between the hours of 0200 UTC to 0700 UTC.