UNSC condemns warship sinking, Pyongyang not blamed directly

Last Updated: Saturday, July 10, 2010 - 00:04

United Nations: The UN Security Council
on Friday condemned the sinking of a South Korean warship in March
that killed 46 sailors, but in a concession to China it did
not directly blame North Korea, which was found to be culpable
in the attack by an international probe.

A statement approved by all 15 council members said it
condemns the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan
and calls for appropriate and peaceful measures to be taken
against those responsible, for the incident.
The council expressed "deep concern" over findings by
a South-Korean-led panel of inquiry that North Korea had sunk
the naval ship, but noted that Pyongyang had denied
responsibility.

Due to pressure from China, the declaration is more
watered down than what the US, Japan and South Korea
originally hoped for.

Beijing was against a direct condemnation or passing
another set of sanctions against its neighbour.

The resolution, which has been agreed to by the
permanent five members of the Security Council along with
South Korea and Japan, mentions the investigation, but does
not directly condemn North Korea.

The results of a South Korea-led international
investigation, made public in May, found North Korea
responsible for torpedoing its ship.

Following the passage of the statement, which is
weaker than an earlier resolution, the US rejected claims that
the muted criticism in the text was a victory for North Korea.

"The message to North Korean leadership is crystal
clear," said US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice.

"The Security Council condemns and deplores this
attack, it warns against any further attacks and insists on
full adherence to the Korean Armistice Agreement -- the
agreement ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

"The investigative team concluded that the Cheonan was
sunk by a North Korean torpedo fired by a North Korean
submarine, Rice added.
This conclusion is reflected in the council statement
of `deep concern.`"

On June 4, South Korea sent a letter to the Security
Council asking it to respond to North Korea`s military
provocation.

Since the letter was received, the P5 (China, France,
Russia, UK and US) plus two (Japan and South Korea) have
been meeting in closed door consultations.

The Security Council statement, read out by Nigeria`s
permanent representative at the UN, said the attack had
endangered "peace and security in the region and beyond".

Rejecting the findings of the investigation, North
Korea denied sinking the ship and asked for sending its own a
probe-team to South Korea or for a joint investigation by both
the Koreas.

Pyongyang also warned military action if the Security
Council condemns it.

"If the Security Council release any documents against
us condemning or questioning us in any document then myself as
a diplomat, I can do nothing," said Sin Son Ho, North Korea?s
ambassador to the U.N., in June. "But the follow-up measures
will be carried out by our military forces."

South Korea`s UN ambassador Park In-kook, also noted
that the statement sent clear message to its neighbour.

"We successfully sent a clear message of international
society to North Korea," he told reporters.

"Our ultimate goal is to prevent any further
provocation or attack...in that sense I am very satisfied with
today’s statement," he said.

South Korea had wanted the council to condemn the
North. But China, the North`s closest ally and a veto-wielding
council member, opposed a third round of sanctions against
North Korea or direct condemnation for the sinking.

SKorea welcomes UN statement on warship

South Korea on Friday welcomed a UN
Security Council statement on the sinking of one of its
warships, urging North Korea to refrain from further
provocations and acknowledge blame for the attack.

The Security Council condemned the March 26 sinking of
the Cheonan but stopped short of directly blaming North Korea
despite calls for a UN censure by Seoul and Washington.

"The Security Council`s presidential statement carries
significant meaning in that the international community
condemned North Korea`s attack on the Cheonan with a united
voice and emphasised the importance of preventing
additional provocations" against the South, Seoul`s foreign
ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun was quoted as saying by the
Yonhap news agency.

"The government strongly urges North Korea not to engage
in any provocations or acts that hurt peace and stability on
the Korean Peninsula by seriously taking the international
community`s strong stance that no provocations against South
Korea will be tolerated," he said.

Kim also urged the North to acknowledge its
responsibility and apologise, Yonhap reported.

The text of the Security Council statement does not
directly blame North Korea (DPRK) for the attack in which 46
sailors died, despite the findings of a multinational inquiry
which blamed the sinking of the ship on a North Korean
torpedo.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, July 10, 2010 - 00:04

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