North Korea has begun fueling a long-range rocket for an impending launch, a news report said Thursday, as President Barack Obama warned the liftoff would be a "provocative act" that would generate a UN Security Council response.
North Korea says it will send a communications satellite into orbit on a multistage rocket sometime from Saturday to Wednesday. The US, South Korea and Japan think the reclusive country is using the launch to test long-range missile technology; they've warned the move would violate a Security Council resolution banning the North from ballistic activity.
Regional powers have also begun to deploy ships to monitor the launch, and Japan is preparing to intercept any debris that might fall if the launch goes awry - moves that have prompted several threats of retaliation from Pyongyang, including one Thursday.
Meanwhile, CNN television said on its Web site that Pyongyang has started to fuel the rocket. The report, citing an unidentified senior US military official, said the move indicates final preparations for the launch. Experts say the missile can be fired about three to four days after fueling begins.