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United Nations react to DPRK nuclear test

REACTION by the United Nations yesterday to the nuclear test by the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) was swift and strong in condemnation.

UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon was first with a statement issued by his spokesperson in which he "strongly deplores" the DPRK test, which he says was "in clear and grave violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions."

Pyongyang announced it had conducted "one more" nuclear test earlier in the day, the second since 2006.

The Council was called into an unusual session near the end of the US national Memorial Day Holiday and quickly came up with a unanimous statement read out to reporters.

"Members of the Security Council voiced their strong opposition and condemnation of the nuclear test conducted by the DPRK on May 25, 2009, which constitutes a clear violation of Resolution 1718, adopted in 2006," said Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, president of the Council for May.

He said the panel of 15 "decided to start work immediately" on a resolution "in accordance with the Security Council's responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations."

What was certain after the brief late afternoon closed-door consultation of the Council was that they all agreed quickly to open a new resolution, and likely a tough one at that.
Although the statement read out to reporters did not specify sanctions, it was clear at least some members of the Council would seek such a stringent measure against Pyongyang.

"We will now get down to work on a Security Council resolution which we believe is the appropriate strong response to what was clearly and unequivocally a violation of Security Council Resolution 1718 and international law," said US Ambassador Susan Rice.

"We look forward to continue to work with colleagues in the Council in the spirit of efficiency, partnership and unanimity which was demonstrated today, which I think goes well for a constructive outcome by the Security Council," she said.

She agreed with Churkin. "What we heard today was swift, clear unequivocal condemnation and opposition to what has occurred. The meeting was brief and everybody spoke and everybody essentially took the same view. We are now resolved to work on a resolution. We believe it ought to be (a) strong resolution with appropriately strong contents but obviously unless and until we have completed the process of negotiating it would be premature to suggest what its contents would be."

But a rather intense Ambassador Yukio Takasu of Japan, an elected Council member, said: "This is a direct threat to the peace and security of Japan and Asia but also a global threat to the non-proliferation regime."

He told reporters after consultations: "And also it's an extremely important challenge against the authority of the Security Council 1718 Resolution and the Presidential Statement made (that) very clear."

The nuclear test was "an extremely serious threat to the authority and prestige, in my view, of the Security Council," said the Japanese envoy.

"This is a very serious situation and we made the point that a proper response from, and clear response, is a resolution," said the envoy. "We are very pleased there is no dissenting view among 15 countries that the Security Council needs a resolution ... and (should) demand full compliance with Security Council resolutions and make sure this kind of thing does not happen again."


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