The United States said Monday it wanted a strong response from the United Nations condemning North Korea's rocket test but hinted it need not come through a Security Council resolution.
Diplomats in New York said that China and Russia, which have veto power on the Security Council, have been pushing for a more muted response after Pyongyang fired a rocket Sunday over Japan.
"We are actively involved in consultation with partners at the United Nations, members of the Security Council," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters after meeting Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere.
"We know that working out the exact language is not easily done overnight, but we remain convinced that coming out with a strong position in the United Nations is the first and important step that we intend to take."
But she did not specify the form of condemnation. Earlier, a senior US official said on condition of anonymity that the United States wanted a Security Council response but "the form of it is not what we should be hung up on."
Security Council resolutions are generally legally binding, but the 15-nation body can also issue non-binding presidential statements.
Clinton held telephone talks on Sunday with her counterparts from China, Japan, Russia and South Korea -- the other nations in deadlocked talks with the North on ending its nuclear program.
The United States and Japan say that North Korea flagrantly violated two Security Council resolutions approved in 2006 that prohibit it from ballistic missile tests.
Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the United States wanted a Security Council action "with teeth" but that the key goal was resuming the six-nation denuclearization talks.
"Now the aim must be to create a context in which we can pursue this critical long-term goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, which is necessary for security in that entire region and for international peace and security," Rice told CNN.
State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters that the United States wanted a "strong, effective, coordinated response from the council.
"What's important is that we send a message to the North that this type of behavior is provocative, it cannot happen again, and that if it's interested in getting back into the good graces of the international community it needs to desist from this type of behavior and activity," he said.
But asked if the United States insisted on a resolution, Wood said: "We want the strongest possible response that we can get in the Security Council. I'd just prefer to leave it at that."
North Korea says that it was testing an experimental satellite that would broadcast "immortal revolutionary songs" from the hardline communist state. The United States, Japan and South Korea say they have not detected any satellite in orbit.