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North Korea Readies for Controversial Rocket Launch 

Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- North Korea has moved a long-range rocket into place for a controversial launch later this month, the BBC reports.

Pyongyang said the rocket will put a satellite into orbit, but opponents believe the nation is disguising a long-range missile test. Officials from South Korea say satellite images indicate the North is preparing to carry out a third nuclear test. An agreement by North Korea in February to freeze nuclear activities and missile tests in exchange for U.S. food aid was put on hold in March when the country announced its plans to launch the rocket.

South Korea and Japan said they will shoot down the rocket, which is scheduled to be launched between April 12 and 16, if it strays into their territory.

North Korea's neighbors and the international community have scrutinized the guarded nation since the death of Kim Jong-il last December led to his son Kim Jong-un taking over as leader.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio