Diplomats scurry to scuttle North Korean rocket launch

Diplomats engaged in a flurry of behind-the-scenes efforts to persuade North Korea to cancel a rocket launch as the isolated regime pressed ahead with final preparations for a liftoff as early as Saturday. Even China, the North's closest ally, said it was working to avert the launch, while urging restraint from all parties to avoid aggravating an already-tense situation. Chinese President Hu Jintao specifically called for calm from Japan. The US, South Korea and Japan think the North Korea says is using a launch of an alleged communications satellite into orbit to test long-range missile technology - a move they have warned would violate a UN Security Council resolution banning the North from ballistic activity.