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UN Security Council Holds Emergency Meeting on North Korean Rocket Launch

The 15-member U.N. Security Council is holding an emergency, closed-door session on North Korea's launch of a rocket that flew over Japanese territory.

Security Council member Japan asked for the emergency session shortly after North Korea launched the rocket Sunday morning Pyongyang time. Diplomats gathered in New York just before 3:00 Sunday afternoon. Japan had feared that debris from the rocket would fall on its cities.

Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu said that, thankfully, that did not happen. But he said that does not change the situation. "It does not change the situation, that is clear. The sign of raising tension and the threat to international peace and security - not only to Japan," he said.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice reflected the opinion of several council members, saying that North Korea's actions constitute a "clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1718," which prohibits Pyongyang from conducting "any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile". "My government has called this a 'provocative act' and we have been in consultation today with our allies in the region and other partners in the Security Council. This session today provides a valuable opportunity for us to pursue those consultations and to work toward agreement on a strong, collective action," she said.

Earlier on Sunday, Ambassador Rice told a U.S. news television program that the most appropriate response would be a new Security Council resolution, but she would not elaborate on her way into the meeting.

Other diplomats entering the afternoon session would not say whether they would seek a new resolution imposing additional sanctions on North Korea or whether they might take a different route.

North Korea launched the rocket, despite international diplomatic efforts to persuade it to cancel the launch. Several countries, including the United States, believe the launch of a satellite, was a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test.