North Korea has announced it will attempt to launch a rocket later this month, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KNCA), in what has been interpreted as an attempt to rattle the Obama administration and influence the upcoming South Korean election.
The proposed test will be the latest in a series of trials by the country, most recently a failed effort in April, and will increase already strained diplomatic tensions between North and South Korea, the latter of which is due to hold presidential elections on 19 December.
The launch will also alarm the United States, with Washington insistent that the trials are a cover for the testing of weaponised long-range missile technology, which would represent a breach of the United Nations ban on ballistic missile tests in North Korea.
However, analysts are suggesting the rocket launch could also be a deliberate attempt to stoke controversy, test the Obama administration and influence the South Korean election.
The country's last rocket, launched in April, above, collapsed shortly after launch
The country's previous rockets launches have been consistent failures - April's rocket managed to fly a short distance before collapsing off the coast of the peninsula.
However, an anonymous spokesperson for the Korean Committee for Space Technology told KNCA that scientists had "analysed the mistakes" of previous rockets.
This month's launch will carry a polar-orbiting earth observation satellite, according to the Associated Press.
Korea plan to launch a Unha-3 class of rocket which is yet to be successfully tested by the country.
December's test will be the second under Kim Jong Un
Saturday's announcement had been anticipated by the international community, with a UN Security Council committee warning the country against such a test earlier this week - although some analysts claimed the preparations may have been a bluff "intended to be a signal rather than signs of an imminent launch".
On Wednesday, satellite photos suggested that the country was preparing for another launch. Photographs taken by DigitalGlobe, satellite operators who supply imagery for US intelligence officials, showed increased activity at the country's Sohae testing facility.
A DigitalGlobe satellite image of the Sohae facility in North Korea
As reported by Reuters, a DigiGlobe statement, read: "Given the observed level of activity noted, of a new tent, trucks, people and numerous portable fuel/oxidizer tanks, should North Korea desire - it could possibly conduct its fifth satellite launch event during the next three weeks.”
If carried out, the December launch will be the second under the fledgling leadership of Kim Jong Un, who succeeded his father Kim Jong Il less than a year ago.
North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons has long been criticised by the United States, who say such a move would be a threat to Asian and world security.
People watch a television broadcast reporting the North Korea launched the long-range missile at the Yongsan electronic market.
A man watches a television broadcast reporting the North Korea launched the long-range missile at the Yongsan electronic market.
South Korean Buddhist monks watch a tv news reporting about North Korea's long-range rocket at Seoul train station.
People walk past a portrait of Kim Jong Il (L) and Kim Il Sung, in Pyongyang.
South Korean army soldiers take their positions as they patrol near the border village of Panmunjom, the demilitarized zone which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War.
A South Korean activist wearing a mask of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un holds a mock rocket during a rally denouncing North Korea's rocket launch in Seoul.
A North Korean woman in traditional dress speaks on the telephone inside the lobby of the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang.