UN condemns N Korea rocket launch
The UN Security Council has condemned North Korea's successful rocket launch and said it will urgently consider "an appropriate response".
The UN's most powerful body said in a brief statement after closed consultations that the launch violated Security Council resolutions adopted after North Korea's nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 and a ban on "any launch using ballistic missile technology".
The council said that after the North's failed launch in April it demanded that Pyongyang halt any further launches using ballistic missile technology and expressed its determination to take action in the event of another launch.
"Members of the Security Council will continue consultation on an appropriate response... given the urgency of the matter," the council statement said.
The successful rocket launch is widely seen as a test which takes North Korea one step closer to being capable of sending a nuclear-tipped warhead as far as California.
North Korean officials said the rocket is meant to send a satellite into orbit to study crops and weather patterns, and Pyongyang maintains its right to develop a civilian space programme.
The closed consultations were attended by the five nations which will join the council on January 1, including South Korea.
South Korea's UN ambassador Kim Sook told reporters afterwards that the launch was "a blatant violation" of council resolutions and "constitutes a very dangerous challenge to the security of the Republic of Korea and the security situation in the Korean peninsula and north-east Asia".
He said consultations will continue and "I believe the Security Council will take appropriate action in a swift and robust manner".
US ambassador Susan Rice praised the council for "one of the swiftest and strongest" initial responses to sanctions violations. She said members must now "send a clear message that violations have consequences" and told reporters that the United States will be working with other countries "to pursue appropriate action".