- Title: UN: Security Council takes no immediate action on North Korean missile launch
- Date: 8th April 2009
- Summary: UNITED NATIONS (FILE) (REUTERS) UNITED NATIONS BUILDING
- Embargoed: 23rd April 2009 23:48
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA8QHLU5GAY1V3J7CS37G4B4659
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: The U.N. Security Council met on Sunday (April 5) to discuss a response to North Korea's rocket launch but took no action, since major powers disagree over whether Pyongyang has done anything wrong.
Japan had called for the emergency meeting to discuss North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket on Sunday. The session lasted for around three hours and the 15 members took no action apart from agreeing to discuss the matter further.
"Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on the appropriate reaction by the council in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter," Mexico's U.N.
Ambassador Claude Heller, who holds the council's rotating presidency, told reporters.
Diplomats said they would return to the issue again on Monday.
The United States, Japan and South Korea say the launch violated council resolutions banning the firing of ballistic missiles by Pyongyang, which has tested a nuclear device and is in stalled six-party talks about ending its nuclear program.
But council diplomats said China, the nearest North Korea has to a major ally, and Russia were not convinced that the launch of what North Korea said was a satellite constituted a violation of U.N. rules. Libya, Vietnam and Uganda also supported this view, they said.
China's U.N. Ambassador Zhang Yesui made a rare appearance at the Security Council stakeout to address reporters after the meeting. He took no questions but emphasized that Beijing did not want the council to take rash or excessive action.
"Regarding the reaction of the Security Council our position is that it has to be cautious and proportionate," said Zhang.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice acknowledged that there was no consensus on whether the rocket was a violation of Security Council resolution 1718, passed after North Korea's 2006 nuclear test. That resolution banned Pyongyang from launching ballistic missiles or carrying out further atomic tests.
Rice added that for the U.S. the launch was a clear violation.
"What was launched is not the issue. The fact that there was a launch using ballistic missile technology is itself a clear violation of U.N.
Security Council resolution 1718, which prohibited missile related activity, and called on the DPRK to halt further missile related activity," said Rice.
Rice said the U.S. wants "a clear and strong response" by the council. Washington and Tokyo are drafting a resolution demanding stricter enforcement, and possibly expansion, of an existing arms embargo and financial sanctions, diplomats said.
The diplomats also said that China and Russia had made clear they would use their veto powers to block any resolution imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang.
The Americans and Japanese did not circulate a draft resolution at Sunday's meeting. Diplomats said it would likely take at least another day before a draft was ready to distribute to council members.
Russia's envoy did not speak to reporters. The Foreign Ministry issued a statement earlier on Sunday that called for a "balanced approach and caution."
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