Seoul: With a North Korean attempt to place a satellite into orbit turning out to be a flop, an attempt by the US, the UK and France to seek ''strong condemnation'' of the launch from the UN Security Council failed as well. Reports indicate that the North Korean rocket's second stage failed to separate and, along with the third stage and the payload, crashed into the Pacific. At the United Nations, a closed door session adjourned after three hours of talks with the US, the UK and France failing in their attempt to get the body to condemn the launch.
Regional countries South Korea and Japan have threatened strong responses, including sanctions. "North Korea's reckless act that threatens regional and global security cannot be justified under any circumstances," South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said in a radio address, promising a "stern" response to provocations.
Japan's government will decide Friday on new bilateral sanctions in response to Sunday's launch, according to chief cabinet secretary Takeo Kawamura.
Meanwhile, the Security Council adjourned Sunday after three hours of closed-door talks on what Western members called a clear breach of UN resolutions.
"Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate action by the council in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter," Mexico's UN ambassador Claude Heller, the council chair this month, told reporters after the meeting.
Russia, China, Libya, Uganda and Vietnam called for restraint so as not to endanger the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament. The talks involve the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
"We are now in a very sensitive moment. All countries concerned should show restraint and refrain from taking action that might lead to increased tension," China's UN ambassador Zhang Yesui told reporters Sunday.
"The use of ballistic missile technology is a clear violation of the resolution which prohibits missile-related activities," US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice noted in reference to Resolution 1718 passed after the North's missile and nuclear tests in 2006.
Meanwhile, the US defence services on Sunday disputed North Korea's claim it had launched a satellite into space, saying "the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean."
"Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan," the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command said. "The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean," the commands said. "No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan."
South Korea also said the satellite which North Korea claimed to have launched Sunday did not enter orbit.
"All three stages of the rocket fell into the sea. No object entered orbit," South Korean defence minister Lee Sang-Hee said. "It was a failed attempt to put a satellite into orbit."
For its part, North Korea said its experimental communications satellite was "rotating normally in its orbit" and transmitting "immortal revolutionary songs" in praise of the communist state's current and former leaders.
US President Barack Obama called the launch "a provocative act" for which the rogue state must be punished.
The North says it launched the satellite as part of a peaceful space program.
Washington, Seoul and Tokyo say a launch for any reason tests missile technology, and breaches UN resolution 1718 passed after Pyongyang's 2006 missile and nuclear tests.