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NKorea could fire rocket within hours: Seoul official
 North Korea has told a United Nations maritime agency that it may carry out a rocket launch as soon as this weekend, according to a South Korean government source Saturday – despite widespread international opposition to Pyongyang's plan.
"North Korea informed the [International Maritime Organization] that it will amend the date of its planned missile launch to between February 7 and 14," a Seoul official was quoted as saying by local news agency Yonhap.

The claim was supported by a separate report out of Japan's Kyodo News, which cited Tokyo's defense minister.

Pyongyang's original window for the launch, as revealed Tuesday, was February 8-25.

Key regional players including South Korea, the United States and China have been trying to dissuade the North from going ahead with what would be the authoritarian state's first long-range rocket launch since 2012.

North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from pursuing ballistic missile technology – the ability to send a satellite into orbit could in theory pose a danger to distant nations like the U.S., which Pyongyang has repeatedly threatened with an attack in the past.

The North also ignored the international community when carrying out its fourth ever nuclear test at the start of the year.

Meanwhile, South Korea was on guard despite the country entering a long weekend in honor of upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.

Leading military officers were joined by U.S. counterparts in visiting the tense inter-Korean border Saturday.

Nearly 30,000 U.S. military personnel are based in the South, decades on from the 1950-53 Korean War – which ended only in a truce.
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