United Nations: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has strongly condemned North Korea's rocket launch, calling it a serious violation of UN resolutions.

"The Security Council deplores that such a launch has caused grave security concerns in the region," the Security Council said in a presidential statement on Monday. The Unha-3 rocket, which the North said would put a satellite into orbit, was launched from the country's northwest early on Friday.

The launch was timed to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the nation's late founding leader Kim Il-sung. North Korea ignored calls to cancel the launch, which the US claimed was a cover for a ballistic missile test banned under UN resolutions. The US, South Korea, Japan and other countries observing the launch said the rocket crashed into the Yellow Sea shortly after blastoff.

The UNSC demanded that North Korea refrain from any further launches using ballistic missile technology and suspend all activities linked to its ballistic missile programme.

Ambassador Susan Rice of the US, which holds the Council's presidency in April, told reporters that the statement also provides for new sanctions."The Security Council directed its North Korea Sanctions Committee to designate additional North Korean entities, including companies, to be subject to an asset freeze, as well as to identify additional proliferation-sensitive technology to be banned for transfer to or from North Korea," Rice said."The Committee will also take several other actions to improve enforcement of existing sanctions," she said.

In February, Pyongyang had agreed to suspend its nuclear activities as well as long-range missile tests in return for 240,000 tonnes of US food aid.But Washington said last month it was putting the deal on hold after the North announced its launch plans.