UN Security Council condemns North Korea’s missile launch

April 14th, 2009 - 3:16 am ICT by IANS  

New York, April 14 (DPA) The UN Security Council Monday spoke with one voice to condemn North Korea for launching a missile, and found the April 5 firing of the rocket violated a 2006 resolution.
The so-called presidential statement fell short of full resolution status because of opposition from China and Russia, which hold two of the five veto votes on the 15-member council.

But it was adapted unanimously, a pre-requisite for issuing a presidential statement.

Japan had called for emergency council action after Pyongyang launched a ballistic Taepo-dong 2 missile, arguing that the rocket had flown across its territory and was a clear violation of the 2006 resolution that forbade North Korea from testing ballistic missiles.

The presidential statement warned North Korea to desist from any further testing, and announced the council’s intention to add more specific measures to the sanctions carried out in 2006.

In a week of wrestling over the council’s response to the missile launch, the US and Japan had demanded a full-fledged resolution that would contain harsher sanctions than those now in place.

But China and Russia, two of the council’s five veto-wielding powers, refused to support sharper measures out of concern it would escalate tensions and undermine the long-ongoing six-party talks aimed at getting Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear programme.

In Washington Monday, the US State Department spokesman said the measure sends a “very strong and coordinated message” to the North Koreans that “this type of activity cannot happen again, mustn’t happen again”.

“And we are going to … continue to encourage the North to come back to the six-party framework so that we can go forward and address the issue of denuclearisation of the peninsula,” said Robert Wood.

The Taepo-dong 2 fell into the Pacific Ocean after crossing over Japanese territory, according to US and Japanese officials. North Korea insists it put a satellite into orbit, but no evidence of the orbiter has been found.

The Security Council in 2006 forbade North Korea to launch ballistic missiles after it tested a nuclear bomb, and also issued sanctions against the hardline communist-governed country. The council fears the missiles could be used to deliver a nuclear bomb.

North Korea has played an on-again off-again game during years of talks with the international community, moving to dismantle its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, then threatening to reassemble it.

The presidential statement was agreed on in a rare Saturday session of the 15-member council. It was expected to instruct a special committee to draw up a list of entities and people that would face sanctions.

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