WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – With all stages of a long-range rocket apparently complete, North Korea could be ready to launch as early as next week.
South Korea’s Yonhap News agency cites unnamed officials in the latest sign that preparations to fire off a rocket are imminent. According to the report by the agency, the rocket could be launched between December 10-12.
The launching is contingent on support equipment being installed and fueling the device, which could occur over the weekend.
A South Korean expert told Yonhap the rocket could potentially reach a distance of about 10,000 kilometers, reaching as far as Los Angeles.
The launch would be North Korea’s second launch attempt under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power after his father’s death almost a year ago. The embarrassing misfire failure of its last rocket in April earned the country widespread international criticism.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pressed North Korea, “not to take any further provocative actions that will heighten tension in the region” after the misfire in April, and U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Monday “his view has not changed on the matter.”
South Korea has warned it will take North Korea to the U.N. Security Council and press for new sanctions if the rocket launch occurs, but it is unclear whether China, the only major ally of the North, would agree to such sanctions.