The top U.S. military commander in the Pacific has called North Korea's plans to launch a rocket a "highly provocative" move that would threaten regional security and could affect future security plans.
Adm. Samuel Locklear says the launch would be a direct violation of Pyongyang's international obligations and U.N. Security Council resolutions.
He told reporters in Japan on Wednesday: "The event poses a threat to regional security that has to be considered as we move forward with the security of the (U.S.-Japan) alliance and the security of our relationships here in Asia."
North Korea says it is putting a satellite into orbit, but Locklear says the real objective appears to be a ballistic missile test.
The launch is expected between Thursday and Monday.