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North Korea threatens 'merciless punishment' against country that disrupts rocket launch

Pyongyang , Sun, 08 Apr 2012 ANI

Pyongyang, Apr 8 (ANI): North Korea has threatened retaliation and 'merciless punishment' against any country that shoots down a rocket it plans to launch this month.

Japan and South Korea have reportedly placed their armed forces on standby in response to North Korea's plans, prepared to shoot down the missile if it passes over their territory.

North Korea is said to be at the first stage of launching the rocket, expected between April 12 and 16, The Telegraph reports.

It claims that the rocket launch is part of the centenary celebrations for the birth of the state's founder Kim Il Sung.

The United States, Japan and South Korea, however, believe that in reality it will be a ballistic missile test in violation of UN resolutions.

According to the paper, satellite images have shown how North Korea's preparations for its rocket launch are already under way, complete with a mobile radar trailer and rows of apparently empty fuel and oxidiser tanks.

In Japan, hundreds of Self-Defence Force personnel have been dispatched to southern Ishigaki in the Okinawa region, which the second stage of the rocket is expected to fly over.

Japan has deployed missile interceptors to seven locations in Okinawa and the Tokyo region, following orders from Naoki Tanaka, Japan's defence minister, to intercept the rocket if necessary to prevent it from falling onto Japanese soil. (ANI)

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