SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Tuesday that it had completed preparations to launch a satellite into orbit, as South Korea and other Asian nations told their airlines and ships to change their routes to avoid the North Korean rocket.
South Korea had previously refrained from issuing such directions while it joined its allies, particularly the United States, in urging North Korea to cancel the launching, scheduled for sometime between Thursday and Monday. They said it violated a U.N. Security Council resolution prohibiting North Korea from testing intercontinental ballistic missile technology.
But the North has remained defiant, and has placed the three-stage Unha-3 rocket at its launching pad.
"All the assembly and preparations of the satellite launch are done," the Associated Press quoted Ryu Gum Chol, a senior North Korean space official, as saying during a news conference for foreign journalists in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.
In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States would pursue "appropriate action" at the U.N. Security Council if the North goes ahead with the launch.