The United Nations Security Council is expected to issue a formal statement on Monday condemning North Korea’s rocket launch on April 5 after the big world powers reached a compromise on how to deal with Pyongyang.

A US draft statement presented to the council on Saturday and due to be adopted on Monday called for tightening existing sanctions imposed almost three years ago after North Korea conducted a nuclear test. It demands a halt to rocket launches.

Susan Rice, US envoy to the UN, said the statement would send “a clear message [to North Korea] that their violation of international law will not be treated with impunity, and indeed will have consequences”.

The compromise followed a week of negotiations among the five permanent security council members – Britain, China, France, Russia and the US – and Japan, a temporary member. Japan dropped its insistence on a binding resolution that would have imposed fresh sanctions, after settling for a unanimous “presidential statement”, which Tokyo said met its main concerns.

The deal might signal a less confrontational mood at the Security Council, which was often deadlocked during the Bush administration over issues such as Zimbabwe and Burma.

Pyongyang said its April 5 rocket launch was a satellite mission, but Japan and western states say it could be linked to a ballistic missile programme, aimed at giving North Korea the capability to deliver a nuclear weapon.

Yukio Takasu, Japan’s UN envoy, said: “We [in Japan] feel most threatened. There has to be a clear, strong and unified response.” He thanked China for having shown flexibility in reaching a compromise.

As part of the compromise the US draft refers simply to a launch, without specifying whether it was of a satellite or a missile.

A US defence official said the Pentagon was still poring over data from the rocket launch to evaluate how much progress Pyongyang had made in developing long-range missiles.

The official told the FT it was too early to determine whether North Korea had attempted a genuine satellite launch, or a veiled long-range missile test.

“You could make a conclusion that it might have been a space launch, but not having any information from them beyond the announcement in advance of the launch, and not having done all the analysis yet on the data, I just cant say one way or the other, whether it was a space launch, or an ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] test.”

The official said there were no signs that North Korea was preparing for follow-on military tests, inlcuding another nuclear test. Several months after testing a Taepodong-2 missile in 2006, North Korea conducted its first test of a nuclear weapon.

“We have no indication that they are planning similar activity,” said the official. ”Following the 2006 missile attempt, months later, they detonated what I think is regarded is a nuclear device on the west coast. I am unaware of any stated intention to conduct a test. I just don’t have any indication of anything.”

“You could make a conclusion that it might have been a space launch, but not having any information from them beyond the announcement in advance of the launch, and not having done all the analysis yet on the data, I just can’t say one way or the other, whether it was a space launch, or an ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] test.”

“We have no indication that they are planning similar activity. Following the 2006 missile attempt, months later, they detonated what I think is regarded is a nuclear device on the west coast. I am unaware of any stated intention to conduct a test. I just don’t have any indication of anything,” the official said.

The official added that there was “zero” unusual activity aside from the rocket launch. Some experts have pointed to concerns about instability in the military – who are receiving fewer rice rations – as Kim Jong-il, the North Korea leader, recovers from an assumed stroke.

The proposed UN statement would call on the UN sanctions committee to designate North Korean entities and goods that should be subject to sanctions under security council resolution 1718, passed in October 2006.

Unlike a resolution, the statement is technically non-binding on UN member states. The 2006 sanctions have not been effectively enforced, although UN member states are empowered to do so. Some diplomats questioned how much impact tightening the measures would have on isolated North Korea.

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