SEOUL - North Korea has taken down part of a controversial long-range rocket on its launch pad in an apparent move to fix a technical problem, South Korean news reports said on Tuesday.
It was not immediately clear whether scientists were simply trying to fix a problem discovered during preparations or whether they were considering cancelling the operation altogether, Yonhap news agency quoted a government source as saying.
North Korea says the launch is to put a weather satellite in space but critics say the rocket is aimed at nurturing the kind of technology needed to mount a nuclear warhead on a long-range missile.
North Korea is banned from conducting missile and nuclear-related tests under UN sanctions imposed after its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests. A rocket launch in April ended in failure and North Korea had already extended the launch window until Dec 29 from Dec 22 due to "technical problems."