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international intrigue

North Korea Reportedly Prepping for Nuclear Test

US President Barack Obama looks through binoculars towards North Korea from Observation Post Ouellette during a visit to the Joint Security Area of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near Panmunjom on the border between North and South Korea on March 25, 2012. Obama arrived in Seoul earlier in the day to attend the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit to be held on March 26-27.   AFP PHOTO / Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images) Eye on you.

North Korea is reportedly close to completing another long-range rocket launch test, scheduled as early as this week. The Associated Press writes that it was among foreign news agencies allowed access to the site where the isolated nation prepares the three-stage rocket. "Our country has the right and also the obligation to develop satellites and launching vehicles," Jang Myong Jin, general manager of the launch facility, said during a tour, citing the U.N. space treaty. "No matter what others say, we are doing this for peaceful purposes."

North Korea conducted a similar test in 2009 after which the U.N. passed a resolution demanding that it cease nuclear tests or launches of ballistic missiles. North Korea unveiled the instant rocket plans a few weeks ago.

Yet only about five weeks ago, North Korea agreed to a moratorium on nuclear tests, considered at the time a surprise breakthrough. In return, the U.S. was to provide 240,000 metric tons of food, which might be in jeopardy if North Korea indeed conducts the test.

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Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/2012 AFP