The UN Security Council met today to condemn North Korea’s rocket launch, just weeks after Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test.
“We have consensus to condemn this kind of violation of sanctions,” Venezuela’s Ambassador Rafael Ramirez, who holds the council presidency, said ahead of the closed-door talks.
North Korea said today it had successfully put a satellite into orbit, with a rocket launch widely condemned as another defiant step towards a missile capable of striking the US mainland.
“This is a ballistic missile technology test and as such it is a violation of four Security Council resolutions,” said British Deputy Ambassador Peter Wilson, who called for a “strong and swift response”.
Today’s rocket, carrying an Earth observation satellite, blasted off at around 9:00 am Pyongyang time and, according to state TV, achieved orbit 10 minutes later.
Western diplomats and their Japanese and South Korean allies hope the latest launch will push China, Pyongyang’s ally, to agree to a UN draft resolution imposing tougher new sanctions on Pyongyang.
The draft text prepared by Japan, South Korea and the United States has been in negotiations for weeks, but Beijing has been reluctant to back measures that would take aim at North Korea’s already weak economy.
“China calls for more dialogue. What we need is no longer dialogue but using the pressure” on North Korea, said Japanese Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa.
China has the power to block with its veto power any resolution that would contain such measures as barring North Korean ships from ports or restricting oil deliveries. France called for a tough stance after the rocket launch.
“What is at stake after this inadmissible provocation is the future of the international non-proliferation regime that we patiently built together over the last decades,” said French Ambassador Francois Delattre. “This is why weakness is simply not an option,” he said.
The council has imposed four sets of sanctions on North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
There are 20 North Korean entities and 12 individuals on the UN sanctions blacklist, which provides for an assets freeze and a global travel ban.