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N. Korea completes installation of long-range rocket on launch pad
SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has assembled all three stages of a long-range rocket on its launch pad, a South Korean official said Wednesday, the latest sign that preparations to fire off the rocket is in full swing.

   "North Korea is believed to have completed the installation of a long-range rocket on the launch pad" at the Dongchang-ri base in the country's northwest, a government official said on condition of anonymity. "Some workers are pulling out of the site."

   The North is now expected to install support equipment, such as radar, cameras and measuring before fueling the rocket. Should fueling take place over the weekend, the rocket is expected to be launched between Dec. 10-12, officials said.

   Pyongyang announced Saturday it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and 22 to put what it calls a "working satellite" into orbit, with much of the world suspecting it is in reality testing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

   The planned launch will be the North's second launch attempt under current leader Kim Jong-un, following a failed launch in April. The young leader took power following his father's death last December.

   On Monday, North Korea notified the U.N. shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization, about the launch.

   Coordinates provided by Pyongyang showed the rocket's first stage would fall into the Yellow Sea between the Korean Peninsula and China, and the second stage drop-off would take place off the Philippines.

  (END)
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