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UN Security Council members reach consensus on DPRK nuclear test

THE UN Security Council yesterday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning "in the strongest terms" a recent nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and imposing new sanctions.
Resolution 1874 demanded that the DPRK "not conduct any further nuclear test or any launch using ballistic missile technology" and urged that the isolated country come back to the six-party talks without preconditions.

China supports "an appropriate and balanced reaction" from the UN Security Council to the DPRK nuclear test, Zhang Yesui, Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, said when addressing a Security Council meeting after the 15-nation UN body unanimously adopted the resolution.

"The resolution not only demonstrates the firm opposition of the international community to the DPRK nuclear test, but also sends a positive message to the DPRK," Zhang said. "It shows the stance and determination of the Security Council to resolve the DPRK nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and negotiations. In this context, the Chinese delegation voted in favor of the resolution."

Immediately after the nuclear test by the DPRK on May 25, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing its firm opposition to the nuclear test, Zhang said.

"We strongly urge the DPRK to honor its commitment to denuclearization, stop relevant moves that may further worsen the situation and return to the six-party talks," he said.

The new resolution came after the DPRK announced a successful nuclear test on May 25, the second since 2006. The six-party talks involving the DPRK, South Korea, the United States, Russia, China and Japan have been stalled since last December.

Also yesterday, U.S. Deputy Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council that "the message of this resolution is clear: North Korea's behavior is unacceptable to the international community, and the international community is determined to respond."

"North Korea should return without conditions to a process of peaceful dialogue," DiCarlo said.

The Security Council urged, in the resolution, states and international financial institutions to disrupt the flow of funds that could support the DPRK's missile, nuclear or proliferation activities.

In particular, the resolution created a new framework for states to cooperate in the inspection of ships and aircraft suspected to be carrying weapons of mass destruction or other banned goods but only with the consent of the country under which the vessel or aircraft is registered.

However, there's a snag: If a vessel belonging to the DPRK refuses inspection, the international community will have a new challenge on its hands, Japanese UN Ambassador Yukio Takasu told reporters after the Council session adjourned.

"The issue is if the DPRK refuses: What happens?," he asked. "The Council may have to deal with this scenario. We can't really predict what the Council is going to do."

While the resolution imposes a total embargo on arms exports from the DPRK and significantly expands the ban on arms imports, British UN Deputy Ambassador Philip John Parham told reporters that the United Kingdom would have gone further.

"We would have preferred to see an even broaderban but this is what was decided upon by the Council," Parham said.

However, Parham emphasized that the sanctions in place are carefully targeted and would not affect humanitarian objectives.

"We are not talking about general economic sanctions," he said. "These measures should not adversely affect the economic situation of the people of North Korea, which, as we already know, is dire."

The resolution also underlines that "measures imposed by this resolution are not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of the DPRK."

Meanwhile, Libyan UN Ambassador Giadalla Ettalhi echoed that note, saying his delegation voted for the resolution because the consequences of sanctions will not harm the people.

However, he stressed that by not offering a reward when Lybia renounced weapons of mass destruction in 2003, it "wasted a precious opportunity" that would have encouraged other states to follow suit.

French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert warned that the DPRK is on "a dangerous path" and urged the country to make "a strategic choice to reject once and for all its nuclear program and to reestablish normal relations with its neighbours."

"Its population will be the first to benefit from this and it will be a first step towards complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula which France, like the European Union so much wishes to see," he added.

In 2003, the DPRK announced that it was withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which would leave it free from inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The DPRK's repeated nuclear tests are "a serious blow" to international efforts to strengthen the NPT, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the Security Council.

Churkin added that it was the Russian delegation which "actively contributed" to drafting a resolution that appealed to a political solution and excluded military force in dealing with the DPRK.

Croatian Ambassador Neven Jurica called upon the DPRK to return to six-party talks and advised that the country take heed of the Council's resolution, which he hoped would be used as a "tool to encourage" DPRK leaders to take "the path of negotiations over confrontation."

Ugandan Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda said the Council had his country's vote because it is "important to achieve non proliferation" and because "we are convinced that together we should work towards the total elimination of all nuclear weapons in order to create a more secure world."

On that note, Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller reminded the Council that actions by the DPRK do not happen in a vacuum. "They take place in a context of constant threat to the international community derived from the existence of nuclear weapons and the risk of their proliferation."

"The possibility that nuclear weapons proliferate will remain as long as they are not completely eliminated. What does not exist cannot proliferate," Heller said.

Austrian Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting said that as co-chairs of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Austria and Costa Rica "believe that the recent events highlight the necessity and urgency of a rapid entry into force" of the CTBT.

Mayr-Harting said: "The unanimous adoption of the resolution is a clear, fully appropriate and unequivocal response by this Council and the international community to the DPRK's nuclear tests and the threat it poses to international peace and security."

The resolution called upon the DPRK to join the CTBT "at the earliest date."

Costa Rican Ambassador Jorge Urbina said the action by the Security Council will hopefully provide the DPRK to return to international dialogue and "we urge it do so as soon as possible."

Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso to the UN Michel Kafando said his country, which is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), condemned the nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK, which "runs the risk of worsening tensions on the Korean Peninsula."

Kafando said: "We hope that since the resolution takes into account all possible facets of the issue, that Resolution 1874 will make an effective contribution towards finding a lasting solution to the North Korean nuclear issue."

Speaking in his national capacity, Turkish UN Ambassador Baki Ilkin, who is also the president of the Council for June, said it was Turkey's "strong expectation" that the DPRK and the international community comply and abide by the provisions in the resolution.

The resolution asked UN members to report on steps they're taking to implement the sanctions within 45 days.

It also requested that the sanctions committee, imposed in Resolution 1718 after the 2006 nuclear test, decide on further entities, goods and individuals to be subject to the travel ban and asset freeze within 30 days.

Sitting in on the vote as an observer, South Korean Ambassador Choi Young-jin said that in conducting its second nuclear test, the DPRK has "clearly demonstrated a complete disregard for its (prior) commitments."

Choi added that his government "welcomes and fully supports" the resolution, and urged the DPRK to "abandon its nuclear programs once and for all."

After the Council session finished, Vietnamese Ambassador Le Luong Minh told reporters that his delegation voted for the "balanced" resolution because, in part, it does not affect the "normal livelihood" of the people and legitimate humanitarian activities in the DPRK.

Later in the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement on the Council's "clear and strong message to the DPRK" and reiterated his belief that all differences should be resolved in a peaceful manner through dialogue.

In this regard, he called upon all concerned parties to refrain from taking any measures that could exacerbate tensions in the region and to exert their best efforts to re-engage in dialogue, including through six-party talks.

The resolution requested that Ban create a panel of up to seven experts to monitor the sanctions' enforcement and provide an interim report on its work to the Council no later than 90 days after adoption of this resolution, and a final report to the Council no later than 30 days prior to termination of its mandate with its findings and recommendations.


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