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World

Security Council avoids condemning North Korean launch

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council have failed to agree on a response to a North Korean rocket launch which penetrated Japanese airspace. The US is continuing to push for a strong reaction.

South Koreans watch a news coverage of North Korean rocket launch

Sunday's launch heightened regional tensions

The veto-holding members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- met privately with Japan for one-and-a-half hours on Monday afternoon.

The talks failed to establish a common position and the parties agreed to reconvene on Tuesday, following consultations with their respective capitals.

File image of North Korean rockets

Nuclear disarmament talks are currently stalled

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was pressing Security Council members to respond.

"We know that working out the exact language is not easily done overnight, but we remain convinced that coming out with a strong position in the United Nations is the first and important step that we intend to take," she said following Monday's negotiations.

"We have no convergence of view at this stage," said Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu.

China and Russia are reportedly pushing for less severe language in any rebuke of North Korea, citing the need to keep open six-party disarmament talks.

"The key thing is to make sure that we do not confine ourselves to an emotional knee-jerk reaction because what we do need is a common strategy and not losing sight of the goal -- and this is the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.

The United States and Japan say that North Korea flagrantly violated two Security Council resolutions approved in 2006 that prohibit it from ballistic missile tests.

Pyongyang says Saturday's launch was aimed at sending a satellite into orbit.