The United States and its allies failed to get the UN Security Council to agree on immediate sanctions for North Korea's rocket launch.
Japan had called for the emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Sunday. But the 15 members agreed only to discuss the matter further, diplomats said.
The United States, Japan and South Korea say the launch "violated" Security Council resolutions banning the firing of ballistic missiles by Pyongyang, imposed after a nuclear test and other missile exercises in 2006.
Council diplomats said China and Russia were not convinced the launch of what North Korea said was a satellite was a violation of U.N. rules. Three other countries supported this view.
"It's 10 against five," one diplomat told Reuters.
The U.S. military and South Korea suggested no part of the Taepodong-2 rocket entered orbit.
For Washington, a successful satellite launch would have put half the continental United States in North Korean rocket range, holding dozens of cities hostage, arms control experts said.
North Korea is believed to have enough fissile material for several nuclear bombs. But many proliferation experts believe the North does not have the technology to miniaturise a nuclear device for a warhead.
Japan said it would keep pushing for sanctions against Pyongyang through a new U.N. resolution.
"We feel that a Security Council resolution is desirable, so we will keep trying for that," Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone told reporters in Tokyo.
China and Russia have called on all sides for restraint. Both made clear before the launch that they would use their veto power to block any resolution imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang.
U.N. Security Council members "agreed to continue consultations on the appropriate reaction by the council ... given the urgency of the matter", Mexican U.N. Ambassador Claude Heller, who holds the body's rotating presidency, told reporters.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu both called for a clear and firm response and said they wanted to see a fresh resolution. Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui said any reaction must be cautious and proportionate.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Nisan 2009, 13:02