A draft resolution in the UN Security Council, imposing sanctions on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his key allies, has failed to pass.
China and Russia both vetoed the proposed measures, which including a freeze on their financial assets and travel.
Beijing and Moscow said they wanted the matter to be resolved in the country without undue interference from foreign powers.
Violence has continued in Zimbabwe, after Mr Mugabe was re-elected as the only candidate in a run-off poll.
The leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the first round of the elections, but pulled out of the second, because of attacks against his supporters.
Britain and the US had hoped that the resolution would pressure Mugabe into stopping the violence and into agreeing to a genuine power sharing deal.