The announcement by North Korea that it intends to test a nuclear bomb has sparked a flurry of diplomatic activity in East Asia.

With the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea due to meet each other over the next ten days, it is expected there will be an attempt to heal the rift that has hampered co-operation in dealing with North Korea's nuclear programme.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, has added his voice to the condemnation of Pyongyang's announcement.

China has urged North Korea to act with calm and restraint.

However, in its first public reaction to the move, Beijing also warned other countries not to increase tensions.

The United States, France and Japan have pressed for a UN response while South Korea insisted it will not tolerate North Korea having a nuclear weapon.