UN strongly condemns North Korean missile launch after delay
UNITED NATIONS (AP):
The United Nations (UN) Security Council threatened new sanctions against North Korea yesterday in a strongly worded condemnation of its latest missile launch after the United States (US) agreed to a Russian request to include a call for "dialogue" with Pyongyang.
The council said that North Korea's illegal missile and nuclear activities "are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond" and expressed the "utmost concern" at its "highly destabilising behaviour and flagrant and provocative defiance" of six UN sanctions resolutions.
The UN's most powerful body demanded an immediate end to the North's nuclear and missile tests and threatened to take "further significant measures" UN code for new sanctions.
The US had accused Russia of blocking a council statement on Wednesday that China, North Korea's closest ally, had agreed to by insisting on including language from previous council statements calling for "dialogue" with Pyongyang.
But Russia's deputy ambassador, Peter Iliichev, told reporters yesterday morning that the US acted in an "abrupt manner" and insisted that Moscow didn't block the statement and was open to discussions.
The statement issued later yesterday by the council includes the language Russia wanted.
'We all realised North Korea is a problem'
The United Nations Security Council's statement expresses the Security Council's commitment "to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution to the situation" and welcomes efforts by council members and other countries "to facilitate a peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue".
Council diplomats, speaking anonymously because discussions were private, said that the US, which is in charge of drafting council statements and resolutions on North Korea, had dropped the call for "dialogue" as part of its effort to toughen the text.
"Everyone came together," United States Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters. "I think at the end of the day, we realised North Korea is a problem and no one on the council wants to see North Korea move forward with any sort of testing or strikes ... and if we have to start looking at sanctions or other actions, we will."
Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its arms programmes, including developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States and announcing that a declared priority is to develop a hydrogen bomb.
The North conducted two nuclear bomb tests and 24 ballistic missile tests last year, defying Security Council sanctions resolutions banning any testing, and it has conducted additional missile tests this year, including the latest one on April 15 that failed.