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UNSC likely to issue presidential statement on N.K.

By Korea Herald

Published : April 15, 2012 - 20:23

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North Korean military vehicles carrying rockets participate in a mass military parade in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Square to celebrate 100 years since the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung on Sunday. (AP-Yonhap News) North Korean military vehicles carrying rockets participate in a mass military parade in Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Square to celebrate 100 years since the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung on Sunday. (AP-Yonhap News)
The U.N. Security Council, which convened in Washington immediately after North Korea’s failed rocket launch on Friday, may release a presidential statement condemning the launch and discouraging further provocations from the North, sources said Sunday.

The Security Council’s meeting result could be either a resolution, or a presidential statement or press remarks. A resolution needs a unanimous agreement from the five permanent members including China and Russia; a presidential statement needs approval of the members of the U.N. body; and press remarks are less significant than a statement.

In the past, it took seven to 10 days for the U.N. Security Council to announce the results of the meeting. However, it could take a shorter period this time with a tacit agreement by China that the launch was wrong.

Although China fell short of explicitly saying the North violated U.N. Security Council resolution 1874, the North’s major ally did not oppose a brief press statement made by the U.N. Security Council on Friday. The statement said that members of the Security Council “deplored” the launch and that it violated the U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 and 1874.

The U.S., which chairs the U.N. body’s meeting this month, shares with South Korea a coordinated stance that the international community should show a swift, unanimous and stern message to the North’s provocation.

“There is a very strong determination among international partners in the Asia-Pacific region to send a very clear message to discourage further provocations from North Korea,” Kurt M. Campbell, assistant secretary of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told reporters in Washington, before leaving for Japan, South Korea, India, and Singapore.

Although Russia made it clear that it would oppose adopting a new resolution, it is not likely to oppose a presidential statement because it approved Resolutions 1718 and 1874, which condemned the North’s first and second nuclear tests.

A South Korean government official said what matters is not the form ― be it a resolution or a presidential statement ― but what kind of message the U.N. Security Council members deliver.

Meanwhile, the South Korean government is keeping a relatively low profile on the North’s rocket launch, compared to the North’s sinking of the Cheonan warship and the deadly shelling on Yeonpyeong Island in 2010.

President Lee Myung-bak neither released a statement nor had phone calls with his counterparts in the U.S., China, Russia and Japan.

As the rocket launch had been expected and it ended in failure, there was no need to seek a strong response, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Jeong-ha told the Yonhap news agency.

A defiant North Korea went ahead with the launch of a long-range rocket early Friday morning, despite repeated warnings from the international community.

The South Korean Defense Ministry said the rocket exploded into about 20 pieces over the West Sea between one and two minutes after takeoff. Pyongyang also admitted its failure through a state-run news media.

By Kim Yoon-mi (yoonmi@heraldcorp.com)