Security Council deplores NKorea rocket launch

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The U.N. Security Council deplored North Korea's rocket launch on Friday, saying it violates two council resolutions that imposed tough sanctions against the reclusive Asian nation.

The U.N.'s most powerful body said in a brief press statement after a closed meeting that members agreed to continue consultations "on an appropriate response in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter."

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, the current council president who read the statement, refused to speculate on whether a response might include new sanctions against North Korea.

The council imposed sanctions against North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006 and stepped up sanctions after its second test in 2009.

North Korea's attempt to launch a satellite ended in failure Friday when the rocket disintegrated over the Yellow Sea. Western nations have said the launch was a cover for the testing of a long-range missile, and worries remain about North Korea's nuclear program amid reports that it may be planning another atomic test soon.

Speaking on behalf of the United States, Rice said, "We think it is important that the council respond credibly, and we will be working in that direction."

Rice said the Security Council was briefed on the failure of North Korea's effort to launch a rocket by Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.

She said Fernandez-Taranco cited Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's statement that the launch "is in direct violation" of Security Council sanctions "and threatens regional stability."

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, called the launch "deplorable as it defies the firm and unanimous stance of the international community" and urged North Korea "not to undertake any further provocative actions that will heighten tension in the region," U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Ban renewed his call to North Korean authorities "to work towards building confidence with neighboring countries and improving the life of its people" and reaffirmed his commitment to working for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and help the people of the North, "in particular by addressing the serious food and nutrition needs of the most vulnerable," Nesirky said.