North Korea said Tuesday it is preparing to shoot a satellite into orbit, its clearest reference yet to an impending launch that neighbors and the US suspect will be a provocative test of a long-range missile.
The statement from the North's space technology agency comes amid growing international concern that the communist nation is gearing up to fire a version of its most advanced missile - one capable of reaching the US - within a week, in violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
North Korea asserted last week that it bears the right to "space development" - words the regime has used in the past to disguise a missile test.
In 1998, North Korea test-fired a Taepodong-1 ballistic missile over Japan and then claimed to have put a satellite into orbit.
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