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05/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

North Korea: UN Security Council Divided On Response

Despite the initial hullabaloo that followed North Korea's Sunday test launch of a Taepodong-2 missile, the UN security council has so far failed to issue even a routine condemnatory statement against what was indeed a long-anticipated event. Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and France pushed hard at the emergency Security Council session on Sunday, but any potential resolution was stymied by Russia and China, two of the five members with veto power. Discussions for a response are to continue Monday afternoon in New York, the Telegraph reports:

Diplomats will reconvene in New York later today to try and overcome the divisions that prevented the Council from even issuing even a routine condemnation of the launch which the US says breaches as 2006 UN resolution. The US, British and French delegations called for tough action following the North Korean test. "We are now in a very sensitive moment," said China's UN Ambassador Zhang Yesui said after the talks, "Our position is that all countries concerned should show restraint and refrain from taking actions that might lead to increased tensions."

However the refusal of China and Russia - who wield a veto at the Security Council - to join in the censure of Pyongyang has shown the difficulty for Western powers of taking actions that match President Obama's strong words.

Predictably, Iran has also positioned itself squarely on North Korea's side of the dispute, describing the test launch as purely justified and within any country's right to place a peaceful-purpose satellite into space, the Telegraph reports. Of course, Western nations contend that the long-anticipated test was by no means pursuant to peaceful ends. From McClatchy:

But North Korea's testing of a missile that analysts fear could someday be fitted with a nuclear warhead underscored how hard that goal will be to achieve -- and the challenge Obama faces from North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

North Korea's state-controlled news agency, however, said the rocket succeeded in placing in orbit a satellite that was broadcasting revolutionary songs.

Estimates of the Taepodong-2's range vary widely, but some put it at as much as 6,200 miles, in theory enough to hit the western United States.

The Council on Foreign Relations has an overview and background on North Korea and its long, contentious relationship with the international community in this Crisis Guide.

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