A rocket that North Korea says is slated to put the country's first-ever satellite into orbit has been moved to a launchpad for possible blastoff as early as this week, amid reports that the secretive regime is also planning a fresh nuclear test.
The Unha-3 rocket is sitting astride a gantry at the Sohae Satellite Station at Tongchang-ri, along the country's northwest coast, according to the BBC. Pyongyang says it could launch sometime between April 12-16.
In what could be a diplomatic breakthrough, the United States said today that North Korea had agreed to cease nuclear weapons tests and enrichment and will allow U.N. inspectors to verify activities at its main reactor.
The announcement comes just two months after the country's leader Kim Jong Il died and the Communist Party handed the reins of power to his son Kim Jong Un. The AP reports that the agreement also includes a moratorium on long-range missile tests.
The body of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is now lying in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang — enclosed in a glass coffin and surrounded by flowers. He died Saturday and the period of mourning is set to continue until well into next week.