UN Security Council Toughens N.Korea Sanctions

Posted April 16th, 2012 at 4:05 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.N. Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea for its attempted launch of a long-range rocket last week and agreed to impose new sanctions on the increasingly isolated nation.

The council unanimously adopted what is known as a “presidential statement,” which called Friday's launch “a serious violation of existing Security Council resolutions” aimed at halting Pyongyang's use of ballistic missile technology. The failed launch lasted only a few minutes and ended in embarrassment for Pyongyang when the rocket broke apart and fell into the Yellow Sea.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who heads the council this month, said the failed launch caused “grave security concerns” across much of East Asia. She noted that if Pyongyang chooses to defy the international community again, the Security Council will act accordingly.

“The swift and unanimous adoption of this strong presidential statement shows that the international community is united in sending a clear message to North Korea that such provocations are serious and totally unacceptable. Critically, the Security Council made clear there will be consequences for any further North Korean launch or nuclear test. If North Korea chooses again to defy the international community, then the Council has expressed its determination to take action accordingly.”

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

In 2006 and 2009, North Korea followed rocket launches with nuclear tests.

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

The U.N. condemnation came as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, traveling in Asia, made stops Monday in Tokyo and Seoul for consultations with allies. He said there is still hope North Korea can be persuaded to change its behavior.

“There's a very strong determination among all the international partners — including China, Russia, Japan, South Korea — all the countries of Asia, to discourage any further provocations from North Korea.”

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said in a radio address Monday that the time has come for the North to change course and give up its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

President Lee said Pyongyang's attempt to threaten the world and promote internal unity by pursuing nuclear weapons and missiles is actually putting North Korea into greater danger. He says it should heed the historical lesson of the Soviet Union, which collapsed while trying to engage in a costly arms race.