Security Council condemns rocket
The UN Security Council has tonight condemned North Korea's missile launch and intends to continue discussions on how to respond to the violations of a ban
on Pyongyang's ballistic missile development, the council president said.
"Members of the Security Council condemned this launch, which is a clear violation of Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874," Moroccan UN Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki, president of the Security Council this month, told reporters.
"Members of the Security Council will continue consultations on an appropriate response," he said after a closed-door meeting on the North Korean missile launch.
Before the meeting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned as a "provocative act" in breach of resolutions banning it from developing ballistic missiles.
Several council diplomats said they hoped the 15-nation body could swiftly agree a similar condemnation and later consider a binding resolution, possibly expanding already existing UN sanctions.
A senior Western diplomat said that the United States, Europe, Japan and South Korea were among those who would like to see UN sanctions expanded.
That could include adding more entities to the UN blacklist, banning travel and freezing assets of individual North Korean officials and tightening the cargo inspection regime.
Whether or not the council can agree a resolution - with or without expanding the sanctions - will depend largely on China and its diplomatic ally on the Security Council, Russia.
Diplomats said China's expression of regret about the launch combined with a call for restraint left few clues as to what it would accept while Russia expressed "deep regret," which diplomats said they hoped was a signal that it would accept a strong response by the council.
North Korea successfully launched a rocket today, boosting the credentials of its new leader and stepping up the threat the isolated and impoverished state poses to opponents.
The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labelled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.
It was Japan that first appealed to the Security Council to take up the issue of North Korea's missile launch.
Ban Ki-Moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, expressed concern that the launch could negatively impact prospects for peace and security in the region.
A statement issued by his office said the launch was "a clear violation of Security Council resolution 1874, in which the Council demanded that the North Korea not conduct any launch using ballistic missile technology."
North Korea followed what it said was a similar successful launch in 2009 with a nuclear test that prompted the U.N. Security Council to stiffen sanctions that it originally imposed in 2006 after the North's first nuclear test.
North Korea is banned from developing nuclear and missile-related technology under UN resolutions, although Kim Jong-un, the youthful head of state who took power a year ago, is believed to have continued the state's "military first" programs put in place by his late father, Kim Jong-il.