United Nations Security Council Condemns North Korean Rocket Launch

John Kim, Feb. 8, 2016, 7:50 a.m.

The U.N. Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea's long-range rocket launch, vowing to "expeditiously adopt a new resolution" with significant measures, and calling the launch a "dangerous and serious violation." "The members of the Security Council strongly condemn this launch," Venezuelan U.N. Ambassador Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno, the council's president for February, told reporters on Sunday while reading a press statement after the closed-door meeting.

"The members of the Security Council underscore this launch as well as any other DPRK launch that use ballistic missile technology even if characterized as a satellite launch or a space launch vehicle contribute to the DPRK's nuclear weapon delivery system and is a serious violation of the Security Council resolutions," he said.

The Security Council also noted its intent to develop "significant measures" in a new resolution in response to the North's latest nuclear test while also recalling previous warnings that it would take "future significant measures" in the event of another DPRK launch. "In line with this commitment and the gravity of this most recent violation, the council will adopt expeditiously a new security council resolution with such measures in response to this dangerous and serious violation," the council president said.

The council also expressed its commitment to continue working toward a "peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation leading to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," the ambassador said. The meeting was convened less than a day after the North defied international warnings and carried out the rocket launch in violation of U.N. resolutions. Right after the launch, South Korea, the United States and Japan jointly requested an emergency council meeting.

South Korea hailed the U.N. Security Council's adoption of a press statement condemning the North's rocket launch. "We welcomed the Security Council's vow to 'expeditiously adopt a new resolution' against North Korea," an official at Seoul's foreign ministry said. The launch came as the U.N. Security Council has been struggling in negotiations to put together a new resolution imposing sanctions on Pyongyang for the nuclear test because China has been reluctant to impose harsh measures on its communist neighbor.

The rocket launch is expected to help break the deadlock as China would find it difficult to oppose tough measures any longer, analysts said. China's cooperation is key to any sanctions resolution because it's a veto-holding permanent member. "We are hopeful that China, like all council members, will see the grave threat to regional, international peace and security, see the importance of adopting tough, unprecedented measures, breaking new ground," U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Samantha Power told reporters.

She also said she will ensure the Security Council imposes serious consequences on the North. "DPRK's latest transgressions require our response to be even firmer," she said. Sunday's launch was successful as the rocket put what Pyongyang claims was a satellite into orbit.

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