Beijing, meanwhile, signaled its opposition to any new sanctions against its ally. Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China "urge[d] all sides to maintain calm and exercise restraint," and remained ready to "play a constructive role."
The future of six-nation talks to strip North Korea of its nuclear weapons capability in return for international acceptance, however, seemed to have been cast into even deeper doubt by the launch.
US disputes N. Korea's claim
The United Nations Security Council debate is likely to involve "a lot of political polemics" over whether the rocket, which North Korea claimed put a satellite into orbit, violated an earlier Council resolution, says Daniel Pinkston, head of the Seoul office of the International Crisis Group think tank.
The US and South Korea disputed North Korea's claim, saying the effort to put a satellite into space had failed. The first stage of the Taepodong-2 missile fell into the East Sea (also known as the Sea of Japan), and "the remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean," said the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command. "No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan."
Did the rocket violate a UN resolution?