(Recasts with confirmation of meeting, U.N. chief statement)
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss the North Korean rocket launch as requested by United States, Japan and South Korea, the U.N. press office said.
The closed-door consultations of the 15-nation council on North Korea will take place at 11 a.m. ET (1600 GMT), the United Nations said in a statement on Saturday.
Council diplomats said the United States, Japan and South Korea requested the meeting after North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Sunday carrying what it has said is a satellite in defiance of United Nations sanctions barring it from using ballistic missile technology.
South Korean U.N. Ambassador Oh Joon wrote in a letter to Venezuelan Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno that the council in 2013 had expressed “its determination to take further significant measures in the event of a further (North Korean) launch or nuclear test.”
Reuters obtained a copy of the South Korean letter to the Venezuelan ambassador, who is president of the Security Council this month.
The United States and China have been discussing a possible expansion of U.N. sanctions on North Korea in response to its latest nuclear test last month. Council diplomats say they hope to vote on a Security Council resolution on the issue later this month.
One diplomat said the rocket launch highlighted the need for “tough action” by the council against North Korea.
Separately, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned North Korea’s latest rocket launch and urged it to “halt its provocative actions,” Ban’s press office said in a statement on Saturday.
“It is deeply deplorable that (North Korea) has conducted a launch using ballistic missile technology in violation of relevant Security Council resolutions ... despite the united plea of the international community against such an act,” the statement said. (Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by James Dalgleish, Robert Birsel)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.