Security Council mulls response to N. Korea’s rocket launch

The U.N. Security Council held an unscheduled, closed-door meeting Friday to consider North Korea’s failed attempt to launch a rocket - and agreed to continue considering it.

“Members of the Security Council deplored this launch,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice told reporters after the meeting.

The members “agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate response” to the launch, which was a violation of U.N. Resolutions 1718 and 1874, she said. “A credible reaction [from the council] is important.”

It was too early to say what that response should be, or whether it would include new sanctions, Ms. Rice added.

North Korea is already heavily sanctioned, although enforcement is spotty.

Diplomats at the U.N. said that it might be tough to get new sanctions through the Security Council, even though the United States holds the rotating presidency this month, giving Ms. Rice control of its agenda.

China generally has been reluctant to see sanctions against North Korea, Beijing’s trading partner and regional ally. As one of the five permanent members of the council, China has a veto.

But Beijing has been even more reluctant to use its veto unilaterally, leaving Russia as a key swing vote, two Western U.N. diplomats said on condition of anonymity.

“Russia’s relationship with China will likely be the key factor in how they approach the issue,” said one.

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