SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has moved up the launch window for a test rocket by one day, the South Korean Defense Ministry said Saturday. The new window, which was also narrowed, is February 7 – 14; the old window was February 8 – 25. The areas where debris would fall remain unchanged.
The announcement comes just days after the reclusive country’s initial launch plans came to light, which drew condemnation from South Korea and Japan.
Though North Korea says it’s putting a satellite into orbit, the launch is viewed by others as a front for a ballistic missile test.
U.S. officials have said the same type of rocket used to launch the satellite could also be used to fire a long-range missile.
South Korea called the plan a “direct challenge against the international community,” and warned that North Korea would pay a “grave price” if it went ahead.
“Forcing the launch is a clear violation against the [United Nations Security Council] resolution and a serious provocation against the security to our country,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday.
Officials for the International Maritime Organization and the International Telecommunications Union each told CNN that North Korea informed their respective organizations that it intends to launch a satellite.
The announcement comes a month after Pyongyang said it carried out a hydrogen bomb test — a claim that was viewed with a heavy dose of skepticism by most of the international community.