The United States and its European allies are calling for the U.N. Security Council to deliver a strong reaction to North Korea's successful rocket launch.
But whether China, North Korea's closest ally, will agree to new sanctions remains unclear.
The British, French and German ambassadors told reporters as they headed into closed Security Council consultations on North Korea's action that it was a clear violation of a U.N. resolution banning missile launches.
France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said the council must have "a strong reaction" Wednesday, most likely a statement, followed by a resolution in the coming days if possible.
But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei has said the council's response should be "prudent and moderate and conducive to maintaining stability and avoiding escalation of the situation."