"I'm sure that's what Admiral Locklear was suggesting yesterday," Cronin says. "We're putting together the intelligence, surveillance, [and] reconnaissance preparing for our missile defense capabilities on shore and on the sea with Japan and South Korea so that we can have the best shot at shooting it down, or certainly tracking it in the more likely case."
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, whose term could expire in a matter of days following an election, ordered Japanese defense forces to intercept any missile or debris from North Korea that heads toward Japan, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The Department of State threatened international action if North Korea proceeds with this "highly provocative act," but did not specify the response.
"If the DPRK proceeds with a launch, we expect the international community to take a strong public stand," a spokesman tells U.S. News.
"The United States will continue to coordinate closely with our Six-Party partners and other key allies and partners on next steps," the spokesman says of the series of meetings between both Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the U.S. "Our message to North Korea has been very clear: the only way out of isolation is to refrain from actions that threaten the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, and to comply fully with its commitments and international obligations. "
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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.