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North Korea one step closer to long-range missile test

According to reports, North Korea has completed assembling the rocket on its launch pad.

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South Korean conservative activists hang an effigy of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un next to a mock North Korean missile during a rally denouncing the North's announcement of a planned satellite launch, in Seoul on March 20, 2012. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

North Korea has taken another step towards its promised second long-range rocket test, completing the assembly of all three stages of the rocket on its launch pad, a South Korean official said on Wednesay, Yonhap agency reported.

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

This past Saturday, Pyongyang announced that it will test a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and 22 to put a working satellite into orbit.

South Korean officials called the move a "grave provocation" and a "challenge to the international community," BBC reported.

According to the Associated Press, this is North Korea's second attempt to launch a rocket since Kim Jong Un took power nearly a year ago. The most recent rocket launch, which took place in April, was a failure-- the rocket only flew for a short time before breaking up and crashing into the waters off the Korean peninsula.

Meanwhile Tokyo, Seoul and Washington, meanwhile, are said to be ramping up their monitoring and intercept teams, The New York Times reported.  

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/121205/north-korea-one-step-closer-long-range-missile-test