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Updated: December 8, 2012 01:39 IST

U.S., region monitoring North Korea launch

DPA
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The U.S. and countries in the Asia-Pacific are preparing to monitor and potentially shoot down a rocket expected to be launched by North Korea as early as next week. Japan would destroy such a rocket if it appeared it might fall on Japanese territory, said Defence Minister Satoshi Morimoto in Tokyo on Friday. U.S. warships were also being positioned to observe and possibly shoot down it, said the military commander in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel Locklear.

South Korea’s military would monitor the launch and prepare for it, said the Defence Ministry in Seoul.

Launch window

N. Korea had said it would launch a long-range rocket before the end of the year and gave a launch window of Monday to December 22.

The U.S. believes the launch would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions, is designed to develop ballistic missile technology and would destabilise the region, said Admiral Locklear.

North Korea’s most recent launch of a long-range rocket, which it said would put a satellite in orbit, failed in April when it broke apart shortly after takeoff.

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