Obama, Xi coordinate response to NKorea provocations

Obama, Xi coordinate response to NKorea provocations

Seoul's Defense Ministry said that South Korea and the US, which stations more than 28,000 troops in the South as a buttress against any North Korean aggression, are deploying key military assets, including the South's Aegis-equipped destroyers and radar spy planes, to track the North Korean rocket after its launch.

North Korea informed the International Maritime Organization and the International Telecommunication Union at the beginning of February that it has plans to launch an observational satellite for scientific research.

North Korea last launched a long-range rocket in December 2012, sending into orbit an object it described as a communications satellite.

The North Korea-focused website is 38 North. It says commercial satellite imagery from Wednesday and Thursday shows tanker trucks at the launch pad, likely to fill fuel and oxidizer tanks.

On Friday, US President Barack Obama spoke by telephone with President Xi Jinping of China, North Korea's main ally and neighbour, and agreed that a North Korean launch would represent a "provocative and destabilising action", the White House said.

The United States and China have appeared divided over how to respond to North Korea, with Washington urging tougher sanctions and Beijing stressing the need for dialogue.

The launch would come just weeks after a January 6 nuclear test that violated U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua, in its dispatch about the call between the two leaders, said Xi stressed that the current situation on the peninsula is "complicated and sensitive".

"The distinction between a rocket used to lift a satellite into space and a long-range ballistic missile is highly technical but of crucial importance to understanding North Korea's motives and capabilities and in forming a realistic and effective strategy to deal with them".

Two Japan Airlines flights-one from Jakarta to Narita and another from Narita to Manila-will also be rerouted.

An updated notification sent by Pyongyang to United Nations agencies on Saturday - a copy of which was released by the South Korean government - said the launch would now take place between Feb 7 and 14.

"What is needed now is a sober, serious, and reasonable public assessment of the threat from North Korea", said Ted Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reported by FOX News.

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