The United States and the international community are expressing concern about the North Korean missile launches. Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council is holding emergency meetings to determine how to respond.

World condemnation of North Korea's missile launches was swift. The United States called it a provocation. Japan, which is within missile range, put its military on high alert.

NATO said the tests threaten security in East Asia, while Russia said they undermine international trust in the impoverished nation.

China, a country seen as one of North Korea's closest allies, expressed its concern, but urged all parties involved not to aggravate tensions in the region.

President Bush accused Pyongyang of consciously going against the wishes of the international community.

"Yesterday, as you know, they fired off a series of rockets. The world had, particularly those of us in the six party talks, had asked for that not to happen, as a matter of good faith. The government made a different decision. It's their choice to make. What these firing of the rockets has done is they've isolated themselves further. And that's sad for the people of North Korea," he said.

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said North Korea's missile tests have united the rest of the world against it.

"We have had expressions from countries all over the world, of concern about this provocation that the North Koreans have engaged in, concern I think that is being expressed now in the (U.N.) Security Council," she said.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council is holding emergency meetings to determine its response.

Japan's ambassador to the United Nations, Kenzo Oshima, told reporters his government already has taken steps to sanction North Korea.

"As far as Japan is concerned, on a bilateral basis, the government has announced a series of measures against North Korea, such as a ban on the entry of North Korean ships into Japanese ports, and a ban on travel of officials of North Korea to Japan," he said.

Oshima said he believes any Security Council response must strongly condemn the North Korean missile launches and express what he described as the international community's "deep concern."

U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said he had no details to discuss yet, but added that Security Council members are united in wanting to send a strong message to North Korea.

"As you know, I never predict the Security Council action. But by the tenor of the statements of all of the Council members, I think there is support for sending a clear signal to Pyongyang, and we will proceed to see if we cannot get that done in the next few days," he said.

The top U.S. official for Asia, Christopher Hill, urged Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks, which are aimed at resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis. In an interview with CNN, he rejected criticism that the six-party talks have not been successful and said the United States will "stick with what it knows is the right approach." Hill goes to the region Thursday.

The six-party talks include the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia. The diplomatic process began in 2003, but has been stalled since September.