A United Nations resolution condemning North Korea for its latest nuclear test will not likely emerge until next month at the earliest.
Diplomatic sources say this is due to reservations expressed by China over imposing tougher sanctions on Pyongyang.
Beijing is reportedly against moving forward with harsh sanctions while South Korea holds the rotating presidency at the UN Security Council.
Seoul's delegate has been serving as president this month, but the top post of the 15-member council is scheduled to be handed over to Russia next month.
In 2009, when North Korea detonated its second nuclear device, it took 18 days for the Security Council to hammer out a resolution.