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UNSC meet on Korea crisis ends on disagreement over statement

December 20, 2010 12:15 IST

The United Nations Security Council failed to arrive at a consensus statement on the Korean crisis in a marathon meeting of its members after veto-wielding powers China and Russia did not agree with the western nations' demand to strongly condemn North Korea for last month's attack on a South Korean island.

The emergency meeting of the Security Council that went on for more than eight hours in various formal and non-formal forms failed to arrive at a consensus on the increasing tension in the Korean Peninsula.

The emergency meeting of the UNSC was convened at the request of Russia after Pyongyang termed "catastrophic" South Korea's decision to go for a daylong military exercise on Tuesday, and warned of retaliation.

Ahead of the meeting, the Russian delegation had circulated a draft resolution, to which the three veto powered countries the United States, Britain and France wanted to add the language of strong condemnation of the November 23 incident which was apparently not agreed by China and Russia.

The November 23 attack on Yeonpyeong island had killed four South Koreans. Tensions have grown in the region ever since and South Korea has vowed to go ahead with a live firing drill near Yeonpyeong, with the North threatening to retaliate.

Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, regretted that the council could not arrive at a consensus on this issue at a critical time when the situation in the Korean Peninsula is very serious.

"We were trying to look for compromise and unfortunately we were not entirely successful," he said. US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said a majority of the UNSC members wanted a clear condemnation of the November 23 attack.

She said there have been two very serious attacks by North on Republic of South Korea over the last nine months.

"There is a history... The vast majority of the council thinks that that needs to be clearly stated and condemned," Rice said.

"I think the vast majority of the members of the Council believe that it would not be productive for there to be a statement that was ambiguous in some fashion about what had transpired in the run up to today and simply to pretend that time began today. That's not the case," she said.

Philip Parham, British Deputy Permanent Representative & Charge d'Affaires in the UN Security Council meeting on the Korean Peninsula said the shelling by the Yeongpyong island was an unprovoked, premeditated, and unacceptable act, and a breach of the UN Charter and of the Armistice Agreement.

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