North Korea is 'days away' from launching ballistic missile, official says

North Korea is “days away” from launching a ballistic missile similar to the long-range rocket they launched in 2012, a U.S. official told Fox News on Tuesday.

The official said North Korea has a pattern of announcing its launches in advance and that they normally say they are space launches, “but the components are the same” for a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile.

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 told The Associated Press that 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.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.