Washington, along with South Korea, Japan and European Union states, want to punish North Korea for its December rocket launch with a United Nations Security Council resolution and tougher sanctions against Pyongyang.
Bejing is the North Korea's only major diplomatic ally. While it agreed to sanctions in the wake of North Korea's 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests, diplomats at the United Nations say China only wants a presidential statement to condemn the latest launch but would allow more names to be added to a UN blacklist.
North Korea is already banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions from developing nuclear and missile technology but has been working steadily on its nuclear test site, possibly in preparation for a third nuclear test, satellite images show.
It raised tensions in East Asia at the same time as Japan and South Korea elected new leaders, who Washington want to mend relations after a dispute over an island claimed by both countries boiled over.
Voice of Russia, Reuters