South Korean and U.S. military officials confirmed Sunday that North Korea had moved the main part of a long-range rocket to a launch site north of Pyongyang.
“We understand that North Korea has moved the main body to Dongchang-ri and is preparing for the launch inside a building,” an official of the Joint Chief of Staff office was quoted as saying, The Korea Herald reported Sunday.
Earlier in the day Japan’s Fuji Television reported a train took the main body to the launch facility in Dongchang-ri, Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, Saturday, Fuji Television said citing informed sources.
North Korea has said it will launch the rocket to put an observation satellite into orbit between April 12 and 16 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of its founding father Kim Il-sung, which falls on April 15.
Kim Il-sung is the father of Kim Jong-il, the late North Korean leader who died of heart attack in December. Kim Jong-il's son, Jong-un, has taken over in the unprecedented third-generation power transition in any communist state.
South Korea and the United States have called on the North to refrain from the planned rocket launch , seeing it as a disguised ballistic missile test.
The North 's move comes as U.S. President Barack Obama and scores of other global leaders are flocking to Seoul to attend the second Nuclear Security Summit.
Washington has said it will not provide food aid to Pyongyang if the North proceeds with the rocket launch , although the U.S. agreed in February to ship 240,000 tons of food to the impoverished North in return for the North 's moratorium on missile and nuclear tests and freeze of uranium enrichment. North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions imposed in 2009 after Pyongyang's nuclear and long-range rocket tests.