U.N. Security Council adopts resolution to punish N. Korea for nuke

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Friday to impose a broad range of additional financial, trade and other sanctions on North Korea in response to its recent nuclear test.

Among the measures is the stricter enforcement of inspections of North Korean cargo by calling on U.N. members for the first time to seize its ships on the high seas if they are suspected of carrying missile or nuclear items.

The resolution is likely to trigger a strong reaction from North Korea, which has already shown signs of preparing another nuclear test, according to U.S. media, and may escalate its confrontation with the United States, the chief architect of the steps listed in the paper.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo said at the council meeting where the resolution was adopted that ''North Korea's behavior is unacceptable to the international community and the international community is determined to respond.''

Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu told the council that ''The resolution represents the strong condemnation and the deep concern of the international community to this irresponsible act.''

''We strongly hope that these measures will induce the DPRK to change its course of action and comply with its obligations under relevant decisions of the Security Council,'' Takasu said. DPRK stands for Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

Two days earlier, the five permanent Security Council members -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China -- plus Japan and South Korea struck a final deal on the text of the resolution after two weeks of talks following Pyongyang's May 25 nuclear test. Of the 15-member Security Council, Japan is a nonpermanent member and South Korea is currently not a member.

Behind the unusually long two weeks of talks was a tug of war between the United States, which sought tougher measures on North Korea as a way to make it abandon its nuclear ambitions, and China, which wanted ''an appropriate and balanced'' resolution as the country, a traditional ally of Pyongyang's, feared tougher steps would lead to military conflict with North Korea.

U.N. members want North Korea to refrain from taking further provocative action since the adoption of the latest resolution, coded 1874, as it did in the case of a presidential statement the Security Council issued April 13 condemning North Korea's April 5 rocket launch.

A day after the adoption of the presidential statement, North Korea said it would pull out of the six-party talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. On April 29, Pyongyang threatened to carry out nuclear tests and test-firings of intercontinental ballistic missiles unless the Security Council apologized.

Fox television reported Thursday Pyongyang is prepared to conduct its third nuclear test if the U.N. Security Council adopted a new resolution.

''The DPRK must refrain from any action that would further aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula,'' South Korean Ambassador Park In Kook said.

Japanese Ambassador Takasu told a news conference later Friday that he thinks the Security Council is ready to take ''appropriate action'' if Pyongyang conduct a third nuclear test in accordance with the graveness of its new provocative action.

The new resolution, expressing ''the gravest concern'' at the most recent nuclear test, described the latest North Korean action as a ''violation and flagrant disregard'' of relevant U.N. resolutions.

It ''calls upon all members to implement their obligations'' under Resolution 1718. The resolution, adopted in October 2006 after North Korea's first nuclear test, bans Pyongyang from engaging in any ballistic missile or nuclear activity.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said in a statement that he ''hopes that the DPRK and all other member states will fully comply with the measures contained in the resolution.''

On the most contentious issue of how inspections of North Korean cargo should be conducted, the new resolution says the Security Council ''calls upon'' all U.N. members to inspect all cargo to and from North Korea in their territories including seaports and airports, if the concerned state has ''information that provides reasonable grounds'' to believe that such cargo contains nuclear and missile-related items.

The phrases were watered down from the wording seen in a draft initially outlined by the United States and Japan, which said all U.N. members ''shall inspect'' North Korean cargo if it is suspected of carrying nuclear or missile-related items.

Throughout the negotiations, Beijing had strongly opposed mandatory inspections of North Korean cargo and instead proposed using the phrase, ''calls upon,'' maintaining such action would lead to military conflict, U.N. diplomatic sources said. As the negotiations went nowhere, the United States finally accepted China's demand, according to the sources.

The resolution states the Security Council calls upon all U.N. members to inspect North Korean vessels, with the consent of the flag state, on the high seas, if they have ''information that provides reasonable grounds'' to believe that the cargo of such vessels contains nuclear and missile items.

''I would like to emphasize that the issue of cargo inspection is complicated and sensitive,'' Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui told the Security Council.

''All parties should refrain from any words or deeds that may exacerbate the conflict. Under no circumstances should there be use or threat of force,'' Zhang said.

The resolution would also expand the scope of the trade embargo on North Korea to ''all arms'' listed under Resolution 1718, except small arms and light weapons.

Items U.N. members are currently barred from supplying to North Korea under Resolution 1718 are limited to large weapons such as tanks, armored combat vehicles and jet fighters.

The resolution also calls on all U.N. members and international lending agencies to refrain from extending new loans and other financial assistance to North Korea other than for humanitarian purposes.

It calls for an expanded freeze on the assets of North Korean entities and individuals to prevent the provision of financial services and transfer of financial assets from contributing to North Korea's nuclear, ballistic missile and other weapons of mass destruction-related programs.

The resolution referred to action under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, a section setting out the council's powers including the use of force to maintain international peace and security.

But the paper excluded a military option, saying the council is acting under Chapter VII while taking measures under the chapter's Article 41, a set of nonmilitary steps. Such an option was mentioned in the initial draft.

The draft did not include a call for Pyongyang to respond to the abduction issue, which was mentioned in the initial draft.

(Distributed by Kyodo News on June 12, 2009)

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