Carr calls for strong response to rocket threat
Mark Willacy, wires
The Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr says there should be a strong international response to North Korea's planned rocket launch.
The US believes the launch is a thinly veiled long-range ballistic missile test and has vowed to take the issue to the UN Security Council.
Senator Carr says he's confident China and Russia will back the UN Security Council.
But he says he can't pretend to be optimistic about North Korea's reaction.
"We've got to look to a Security Council response and hope that it would dissuade North Korea from repeating this behaviour again but given the nature of the regime, the so-called hermit kingdom, one cannot pretend to be optimistic at all about international pressure having an effect on their behaviour," he said.
Japan ready for rocket launch
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says that the country is on full alert over North Korea's planned rocket launch, expected at any time over the coming days.
"We want to seek their self-restraint until the last minute," Mr Noda told reporters as he arrived for talks with a special taskforce set up to handle Japan's response to the planned launch.
"But we want to be fully prepared for any possible contingency," he said.
Optimum conditions for a North Korean rocket launch are about to be reached - and will last five days.
North Korea could fire a three-stage rocket into the atmosphere as early as Thursday, Australian eastern time, defying worldwide calls to abandon the launch.
North Korea says Monday is the last opportunity to launch the three-stage rocket.
Pyongyang says it will deliver an observation satellite into orbit, with its flight path heading south past the Philippines and over central Australia.
But the US, South Korea and Japan say it is a disguised ballistic missile test.
They have now vowed to take the matter to the UN Security Council.
North Korea has announced it has begun fuelling the rocket.
But the United States, South Korea and Japan warn that the launch is a disguised ballistic missile test.
After fuelling the 30-metre rocket, North Korea will be ready to blast it into orbit.
Debris is expected to fall into the ocean west of the Korean Peninsula and east of the Philippines.
From Thursday morning, ships in the launch zone will be told to watch for falling debris, while commercial airliners will be re-routed around the flight path.