An international agency says North Korea has declared plans to launch an Earth observation satellite on a rocket later this month.

This kind of rocket launch would cause international outrage because such tests are seen by the United Nations and other critics as covers for banned long-range missile tests meant to further North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

An official at the London-based International Maritime Organization said North Korea declared that an Earth observation satellite launch would be conducted between Feb. 8 and 25.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because she hadn't been authorized to speak publicly yet.

Japan's Kyodo News agency reported that North Korea also notified the Geneva-based International Telecommunication Union "via diplomatic channels" that it will launch a satellite later this month.