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UN Security Council Condemns North Korea Rocket Launch

South Korean officials of the Incheon Maritime Police Agency monitor a situation room while on high alert in preparation for North Korea's planned launch of a Unha-3 rocket, in Incheon, South Korea, April 12, 2012.
South Korean officials of the Incheon Maritime Police Agency monitor a situation room while on high alert in preparation for North Korea's planned launch of a Unha-3 rocket, in Incheon, South Korea, April 12, 2012.
Margaret Besheer

The United Nations Security Council has deplored North Korea’s rocket launch as a violation of council resolutions.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s office says he found North Korea's rocket launch “deplorable” and in direct violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. He urged Pyongyang not to take “any further provocative actions” that would heighten regional tensions.

The North Koreans had been saying for weeks that they would launch a rocket.  The international community tried to discourage the launch, but it took place early Friday morning and ended in embarrassment for Pyongyang when it split apart a few minutes after take-off and its debris rained down into the Yellow Sea.

The U.N. Security Council met privately Friday on the matter. Afterward, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who holds the rotating presidency of the 15-nation council this month, told reporters the council was briefed on the launch.

“The Security Council held consultations to address this serious situation and listen to concerns arising from the launch by North Korea," said Rice. "Members of the Security Council deplored this launch which is in violation of Security Council resolutions 1718 and 1874. Members of the Security Council agreed to continue consultations on an appropriate response in accordance with its responsibilities given the urgency of the matter.”

Diplomats did not rule out the possibility of a stronger statement, known as a presidential statement. There was, however, no mention of a resolution or further sanctions at this time.

On Thursday, China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong, was vague about how China would react to a North Korean launch.

“We are very concerned about that issue. We have been working on that along with the friends, parties concerned in region," he said. "We think that the peace and stability in region is extremely important. No doubt do everything possible to defuse tension rather than inflame the situation there. I think we should do everything possible, make sure that peace and stability will be maintained in the region.”

The Security Council adopted resolution 1718 in 2006 after North Korea’s first nuclear test, imposing trade and economic sanctions on Pyongyang. After another nuclear test in 2009, the council adopted resolution 1874, tightening existing sanctions and authorizing cargo inspections and an arms embargo, and blocking funding for nuclear, missile and proliferation activities in a bid to stop North Korea’s nuclear activities.  

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