- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 2, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. Defense officials say North Korea has begun fueling a rocket for its controversial launch of a satellite.

And a senior intelligence official told The Associated Press that Pyongyang remained on track for a projected Saturday launch.

Senior defense officials said Thursday that intelligence was unclear on where preparations stood, but by late morning confirmed that fueling and other activities to get ready for the launch were indeed under way.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence issues.

U.S. intelligence is closely watching launch preparations and is comparing them to the steps taken in advance of North Korea’s 2006 launch of a Taeopong 2 missile.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Pentagon officials say that North Korea has begun final preparations for its threatened missile test, moving fuel trucks and fueling equipment to a coastal launch site.

But three senior U.S. defense officials said Thursday it is unclear whether actual fueling had begun. But one official said trailers and vehicles used for fueling have been stationed near the launch pad. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on intelligence matters.

At the G-20 summit in London, President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak issued a statement agreeing on “a stern, united response from the international community if North Korea launches a long-range rocket.”

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