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N. Korea Says It Will Launch Long-Range Rocket

  • FILE - This Monday Nov. 26, 2012 file satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe and annotated by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, shows the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22, a move likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul ahead of South Korean presidential elections Dec. 19.  (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe via 38 North, File)

    FILE - This Monday Nov. 26, 2012 file satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe and annotated by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, shows the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22, a move likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul ahead of South Korean presidential elections Dec. 19. (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe via 38 North, File)

  • FILE - This Monday Nov. 26, 2012 file satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe and annotated by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, shows the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22, a move likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul ahead of South Korean presidential elections Dec. 19.  (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe via 38 North, File)

    FILE - This Monday Nov. 26, 2012 file satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe and annotated by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, shows the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22, a move likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul ahead of South Korean presidential elections Dec. 19. (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe via 38 North, File)

  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a North Korean soldier stands in front of the country's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. Rocket sections are apparently being trucked into North Korea's northwest launch site, but some analysts are asking whether it's just a calculated bluff meant to jangle the Obama administration and influence South Korean voters ahead of Dec. 19 presidential elections in three weeks. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a North Korean soldier stands in front of the country's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. Rocket sections are apparently being trucked into North Korea's northwest launch site, but some analysts are asking whether it's just a calculated bluff meant to jangle the Obama administration and influence South Korean voters ahead of Dec. 19 presidential elections in three weeks. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a group of journalists walk down a road in front of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. April 8, 2012. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a group of journalists walk down a road in front of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. April 8, 2012. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a group of journalists walk down a road in front of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. April 8, 2012. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a group of journalists walk down a road in front of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. April 8, 2012. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

  • FILE - This Monday Nov. 26, 2012 file satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe and annotated by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, shows the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22, a move likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul ahead of South Korean presidential elections Dec. 19.  (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe via 38 North, File)
  • FILE - This Monday Nov. 26, 2012 file satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe and annotated by 38 North, the website of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, shows the Sohae Satellite Launch Station in Cholsan County, North Pyongan Province, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22, a move likely to heighten already strained tensions with Washington and Seoul ahead of South Korean presidential elections Dec. 19.  (AP Photo/DigitalGlobe via 38 North, File)
  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a North Korean soldier stands in front of the country's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. Rocket sections are apparently being trucked into North Korea's northwest launch site, but some analysts are asking whether it's just a calculated bluff meant to jangle the Obama administration and influence South Korean voters ahead of Dec. 19 presidential elections in three weeks. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
  • FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
  • FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2012 file photo, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, slated for liftoff between April 12-16, stands at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a group of journalists walk down a road in front of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. April 8, 2012. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
  • FILE - In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a group of journalists walk down a road in front of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at Sohae Satellite Station in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. April 8, 2012. North Korea said Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 it will launch a long-range rocket between Dec. 10 and Dec. 22. The launch will heighten already strained tensions with South Korean ahead of its presidential election on Dec. 19. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

Seoul, South Korea — North Korea is gearing up to fire a long-range rocket this month in a defiant move expected to raise the stakes of a global standoff over its missile and nuclear programs.

The planned launch window — Dec 10-22 — comes as President Obama prepares for his second term and as South Korea holds presidential elections Dec. 19.

It would be North Korea’s second launch attempt under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father Kim Jong Il’s death nearly a year ago.

Some analysts have expressed skepticism that North Korea has corrected whatever caused the embarrassing misfire of its last rocket eight months ago. That launch earned the country widespread international condemnation.

A spokesman for North Korea’s Korean Committee for Space Technology, however, said scientists have “analyzed the mistakes” made in the failed April launch and improved the precision of its Unha rocket and Kwangmyongsong satellite, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

The statement said the launch was a request of late leader Kim Jong Il. He died on Dec. 17, 2011, and North Koreans are expected to mark that date this year with some fanfare.