U.S. says U.N. should take strong North Korea position

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday said North Korea’s weekend missile launch had “grave implications” and the first response should be a forceful position taken at the United Nations.

The U.N. Security Council had held an emergency session on Sunday, but the 15 members agreed only to further discussions after North Korea launched a Taepodong-2 rocket.

“It’s a provocative act that has grave implications. North Korea ignored its international obligations, rejected the unequivocal calls for restraint, and further isolated itself from the community of nations,” Clinton told reporters.

She said U.S. officials were in active consultations with members of the U.N. Security Council and countries engaged in six-party talks over North Korea’s nuclear program.

“We know that working out the 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,” Clinton said.

Six-party talks among the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States have been stalled since December.

“North Korea has to know that any efforts to obtain the objectives it set forth as desiring in the six-party talks are put at jeopardy. But we’re going to take this one step at a time,” she said.

Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jackie Frank