After three hours of closed-door talks, the UN Security Council failed to reach agreement on how to respond to North Korea's long-range rocket launch seen by most Western nations as a clear violation of UN resolutions.
“Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate action by the council in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter," Mexico's UN Ambassador Claude Heller, the council chair this month, told reporters after Sunday's meeting.
The United States and Japan, which called for the meeting in response to what they view as Pyongyang's “provocative act,” said the launch of a three-stage Taepodong-2 missile, with an estimated range of 4,100 miles (6,700 kilometers) violated Security Council resolution 1718.
A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Rice, backed by her British and French colleagues, pressed for a “strong condemnation” of the North Korean action during the consultations.
But Russia, China, Libya, Uganda and Vietnam called for restraint in the council's reaction so as not to endanger the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament, the diplomat added.
The six-party talks bring together the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. “We are now in a very sensitive moment. All countries concerned should show restraint and refrain from taking action that might lead to increased tension,” China's UN Ambassador Zhang Yesui told reporters.
His Japanese counterpart, Yukio Takasu, insisted that Tokyo wanted a “clear, firm and unified response” from the council in the form of a resolution.