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UN strongly condemns North Korea test

Publication Date : 17-04-2012


The United Nations Security Council yesterday strongly condemned the satellite launch by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, saying the move raised "grave security concerns".

The council also demanded Pyongyang's full compliance with its resolutions.

The council formally adopted the statement at 10 am (local time) during a meeting on North Korea's failed rocket launch. The statement passed by the 15-member council "strongly condemns" the launch as a "serious violation" of UN resolutions 1718 and 1874, and said it had caused "grave security concerns in the region". It also warned of further council action in the event of a new nuclear test by Pyongyang. North Korea said its rocket launch was a weather satellite, but the United States and its allies said it was an attempt to test a missile launcher.

The council demanded that Pyongyang hold back from any launches "using ballistic missile technology", suspend "all activities related to its ballistic missile program" and keep to its promised "moratorium on missile launches".

"The Security Council expresses its determination to take action accordingly in the event of a further North Korea launch or nuclear test," the statement said.

It also instructed the council's sanctions committee to consider within the next 15 days adding new firms and individuals to its sanctions blacklist, as well as additional goods that North Korea would be banned from importing.

North Korea admitted its long-range rocket failed to send a satellite into orbit on Friday. US and Republic of Korea officials said it crashed into the sea a few minutes after the launch.

While the statement calls for the tightening of existing sanctions, diplomats said none of the council members had seriously pushed the idea of imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang in retaliation for the launch, something China and Russia would have opposed.

The existing UN blacklist of sanctioned firms and individuals includes those linked to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile industries.

US and other Western officials have repeatedly said that the launch violated a UN ban on the use of ballistic missile technology by North Korea, a measure the Security Council imposed on Pyongyang in the wake of its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.

Chen Qi, an expert on East Asian studies at Tsinghua University, said the statement balanced the interests of all parties.

The council's statement is generally non-binding, unlike Security Council resolutions, he said, adding that the statement made public the international community's view that no country wants North Korea to conduct nuclear tests or possess missiles.

"The international community is united on this issue, and the bottom line was known by North Korea from the statement," he said.

Chen also pointed out that the path of the rocket was carefully selected because Pyongyang didn't want to draw concerns from the international community.


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