Despite intense pressure from the US, Japan and South Korea, the UN Security Council failed to come up with immediate response to the North Korea's rocket launch with its members sharply divided on the course of action. After a three hour emergency meeting convened at the request of Japan on Sunday evening, the 15-member Council only agreed to continue to discuss the matter despite call by US President Barack Obama to the United Nations for quick action, including expansion of arms and financial sanctions. Diplomats said that at least five members, including Russia and China, thwarted the attempt by Washington and its allies to issue a strong condemnation. Washington and its allies contend the launch violated the Council resolutions banning North Korea from conducing ballistic missile tests but Moscow and Beijing differed during the meeting. Council diplomats said the initial reaction of Russia and China was that North Korea has not violated any resolution but both left wiggle room to change their positions. The Council was expected to consider a presidential or press statement but that requires consent of all ten members. The other course is to bring a resolution but then Russia and China, who have veto along with the United States, Britain and France, have to be brought on board. American UN Ambassador Susan Rice, who led the group seeking immediate condemnation, said that the use of ballistic missile technology is a clear violation of the Council resolution, adding that the launch is not an issue. The US analysts fear that North Korea might be perfecting ballistic missile technology which could bring US state of Alaska in its range. Russian envoy Igor N Schcherbak argued that the launch did not violate the Council resolutions banning ballistic missile test but also said that Moscow was studying the issue, thus leaving its future course of action ambiguous. Taking somewhat similar position, China's UN envoy Yesui Zhang said North Korea, like all other countries, has the right to launch satellites but advised all countries to show restraint and refrain from taking any action which might increase tension. The US, diplomats said, is expected to increase pressure in Moscow and Beijing to make them fall in line as, western officials say, it would send a wrong signal to North Korea if it found that the international community is divided. For China, diplomats say, it would imperative to move cautiously as it Beijing is North Korea's closest ally and would not like to lose influence it had over the country's leaders.