The U.N. Security Council has unanimously approved a statement condemning the violence that has sent more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing from Myanmar to Bangladesh, a significant step that still fell short of a stronger resolution opposed by China.

The statement adopted Monday calls on Myanmar's government "to ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine State" and take immediate steps to respect human rights.

Britain initially circulated a Security Council resolution with similar language, backed by the U.S., France and other council members. But resolutions are legally binding and diplomats said China, a neighbor and ally of Myanmar, was opposed.

So Britain turned the resolution into a presidential statement, which becomes part of the council's record but does not have the legal clout of a resolution.