The United Nations Security Council has unanimously condemned the March 26 torpedo attack on the South Korean warship Cheonan, but stopped short of directly condemning North Korea for the attack.
After a month of consultations and negotiations, the Security Council on Friday adopted a statement condemning the attack that killed 46 South Korean sailors and heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.
The council said the incident "endangers peace and security in the region and beyond" and called for "appropriate and peaceful measures to be taken against those responsible for the incident." But the council refrained from directly naming Pyongyang as the perpetrator.
Instead they expressed their "deep concern" over the findings of a South Korean-led international investigation into the sinking that concluded a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine was the cause of the ship's sinking.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the message to North Korea is clear:
"The Security Council condemns the attack; it warns against any further attacks against the Republic of Korea; and it calls for full adherence to the Korean Armistice Agreement," said Rice.
South Korean Ambassador Park In-kook welcomed the statement and expressed his appreciation to the international community for its support.
"I am sure that today's strong and unanimous statement will serve to make North Korea refrain from further attack or provocation," he said.
But North Korean Ambassador Sin Son Ho told reporters the statement is a "diplomatic victory" for Pyongyang, saying from the beginning the North has been very clear that the sinking had nothing to do with them.
Council diplomats said North Korea's closest ally, China, was reluctant to directly blame Pyongyang because it is 'unpredictable', but understood the council had to respond. China's ambassador told reporters after the meeting that the council wanted to "safeguard peace and stability in the region" and urge the parties to use restraint. He said he believes the situation is now moving in the "right direction."