UN Security Council Ready to Condemn Pyongyang Launch Bid

Posted April 16th, 2012 at 12:25 am (UTC-5)
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U.N. diplomats say they expect to announce a Security Council statement Monday denouncing North Korea's attempt to launch a long-range rocket last week.

Unidentified diplomats are quoted saying council members have agreed on a statement after three days of talks behind closed doors. They say the statement will be released Monday morning unless objections are raised overnight. Details of the statement were not disclosed.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said after Friday's talks that the council members “deplored” the launch, which was carried out despite U.N. resolutions barring North Korea from using ballistic missile technology. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also deplored the launch on Friday, but the council issued no formal statement at that time.

Reports say the statement has been delayed by disagreements from China, which is seeking softer language than that favored by the United States, which holds the council chair this month. Council statements require unanimous agreement, unlike resolutions, which are passed on a vote.

North Korea staged the launch attempt Thursday, saying it aimed to put a weather satellite into orbit as part of the ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of national founder Kim Il Sung. However, Western nations criticized the launch as a ploy to test a ballistic missile that could later be fitted with a nuclear warhead.

The rocket broke up shortly after launch, sending debris falling into the Yellow Sea.