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As North Korea rocket launch nears, US allies discuss options

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A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

North Korea may launch a long-range rocket as soon as this weekend, ratcheting up tensions on the divided peninsula. President Obama held talks Thursday on the topic with his South Korean counterpart at the G20 summit in London, where the two pledged a "stern, united" international response if the launch took place.

The isolated communist state has said it will send a satellite into space between April 4 and April 8. It has warned that any effort to stop the launch would be treated as an act of war. The US, Japan, and South Korea say the launch would violate a UN-ordered ban on such activity.

Citing a senior US military official, CNN reports that North Korea has begun fueling the missile and may be days away from firing it into space. A satellite image shows a rocket on a launch pad with a payload on its upper section that is covered up. North Korea has said that it wants to launch a "communications satellite," but the US says this is an excuse for testing a long-range missile that is capable of hitting Alaska.

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