UN Security Council Condemns N. Korean Rocket Launch

Posted April 16th, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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The U.N. Security Council issued a statement Monday strongly condemning North Korea for its attempted launch of a long range rocket last week.

The resolution calls Thursday's launch “a serious violation of existing Security Council resolutions” aimed halting Pyongyang's use of ballistic missile technology. It also says the failed launch caused “grave security concerns” across much of East Asia.

North Korea staged the launch despite widespread diplomatic pressure, saying it aimed to put a weather satellite into orbit as part of ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung. The rocket broke apart shortly after launch, with debris falling into the Yellow Sea.

Western nations criticized the launch as a ploy to test a ballistic missile that could later be fitted with a nuclear warhead.

The U.N. condemnation also demands the North refrain from any further launches using ballistic missile technology, and calls on the isolated Pyongyang government to abandon “all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.”

There was no immediate North Korean response to the U.N. statement.

The condemnation comes as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell continued meetings in Tokyo with senior Japanese officials to plot strategy aimed at gaining North Korean compliance with U.N. and regional initiatives.

“…All I can say is that there's been very close coordination between the United States and Japan and I think what we have heard is satisfaction with how we've worked together and what indeed we have accomplished together.”

Ahead of Monday's U.N. statement, reports from New York said it had been delayed by China, which was seeking softer language than that favored by the United States. Council statements require unanimous agreement, unlike resolutions, which are passed on a vote.