The United Nations Security Council has condemned North Korea's rocket launch, saying it violates two council resolutions prohibiting Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology. The council will consider stronger action in the coming days.
In a quick response Wednesday, the 15-nation council condemned the launch and reminded Pyongyang that in April the international community demanded it not proceed with any further launches that use ballistic missile technology.
The Security Council president, Moroccan Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki, told reporters after the emergency session that consultations would continue among members on an "appropriate response."
Diplomats said that could include a resolution that might strengthen existing sanctions, including designating additional individuals and entities to sanctions lists. But any action would largely depend on how far China -- North Korea's main ally -- is willing to go.
Washington has been clear in its condemnation of Wednesday's launch, in which North Korea said a long-range rocket put a weather satellite into orbit. The United States called it "a highly provocative act that threatens regional security."
At the United Nations, Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters that the administration will continue to work with the Security Council and its partners in the six-party talks to pursue appropriate action.
"This launch also shows that despite the Security Council's clear requirements, North Korea is determined to pursue its ballistic missile program without regard for its international obligations," said Rice. "Therefore, members of the Council must now work in a concerted fashion to send North Korea a clear message that its violations of UN Security Council resolutions have consequences."
Ambassadors from Britain, France and Germany echoed the call for stronger council action.
South Korean Ambassador Kim Sook, whose country will join the council as a non-permanent member on Jan. 1, expressed his government's concern. He said, "This launch constitutes a serious challenge and blatant violation of the Security Council resolutions and this constitutes a very dangerous challenge to the security of [South Korea] and the security situation in the Korean peninsula and in northeast Asia, and also to the peace and stability of the whole international society."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is a former South Korean foreign minister, said he "deplored" Pyongyang's "provocative" act. Ban said he has been urging North Korea not to carry out such a launch and instead to build confidence with its neighbors. Ban said he is worried about the negative repercussions this act could have on regional peace and stability.