- The Washington Times - Monday, April 9, 2012

North Korea is readying a long-range rocket launch that could occur this week, while South Korean officials say the secretive, totalitarian regime also is preparing a nuclear weapons test.

Over the weekend, North Korean officials unveiled to the world’s press its three-stage Unha-3 rocket on its launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Station.

The officials say the launch, set for sometime between April 12 and 16, will put a communications and weather satellite in orbit. But Western experts suspect the launch is a cover for a ballistics missile test with military applications.

On Monday, a South Korean intelligence report circulated to Western media outlets said the North is preparing to conduct an underground test of an atomic bomb.

Satellite photos show preparations being carried out at a special facility used for North Korea’s previous underground nuclear tests, the report said.

North Korea is barred by U.N. resolutions from testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.