Se­cu­rity Coun­cil to meet as South Korea set on ex­er­cise

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

IS­LAND: A U.S. gover­nor vis­it­ing North Korea has called for it to show max­i­mum re­straint to planned South Korean mil­i­tary drills and hopes the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil will de­liver the same mes­sage in its emer­gency meet­ing, his of­fice said.

A fre­quent un­of­fi­cial en­voy to the reclu­sive coun­try, New Mex­ico Gov. Bill Richardson has held three im­por­tant meet­ings with top lead­ers in North Korea's for­eign min­istry and mil­i­tary dur­ing his four-day visit.

"I hope that the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil will pass a strong res­o­lu­tion call­ing for self-re­straint from all sides in or­der to seek peace­ful means to re­solve this dis­pute," Richardson said in a state­ment re­leased by his U.S. of­fice late Satur­day. "A U.N. res­o­lu­tion could pro­vide cover for all sides that pre­vents ag­gres­sive mil­i­tary ac­tion."

South Korea's

mil­i­tary plans to con­duct one-day, live­fire drills by Tues­day on the same front-line is­land the North shelled last month as the South con­ducted a sim­i­lar ex­er­cise. The North warned the drills would cause it to strike back harder than it did last month, when four peo­ple were killed on Yeon­pyeong Is­land.

The high ten­sions prompted the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Satur­day to sched­ule an emer­gency meet­ing at Rus­sia's request. The mil­i­tary's po­si­tion to hold the drills re­mains un­changed, a De­fense Min­istry of­fi­cial said, in­di­cat­ing the drills could take place ei­ther Mon­day or Tues­day due to bad weather Sun­day. He asked not to be iden­ti­fied, cit­ing the is­sue's sen­si­tiv­ity.

The North's For­eign Min­istry said Satur­day that South Korea would face an un­spec­i­fied "catas­tro­phe" if the drills take place, in a state­ment car­ried by the of­fi­cial Korean Cen­tral News Agency. The North also said it would strike harder than be­fore.

South Korea says the drills are rou­tine, de­fen­sive in na­ture and should not be con­sid­ered threat­en­ing. The U.S. sup­ports that and says any coun­try has a right to train for self-de­fense, but Rus­sia and China, fel­low per­ma­nent mem­bers of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, have expressed con­cern.

Rus­sia's For­eign Min­istry has urged South Korea to can­cel to avoid es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions.

The Se­cu­rity Coun­cil sched­uled emer­gency closed­door con­sul­ta­tions on North Korea for 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) Sun­day at Rus­sia's request, said Mark Korn­blau, spokesman for the U.S. Mis­sion to the United Na­tions. The United States holds the coun­cil's ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency this month.

Rus­sia's U.N. Am­bas­sador Vi­taly Churkin said the Rus­sian govern­ment be­lieves the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil must send "a re­strain­ing sig­nal" to North Korea and help launch diplo­matic ac­tions to re­solve all dis­putes be­tween North Korea and South Korea.

China, the North's key ally, has said it is "un­am­bigu­ously op­posed" to any acts that could worsen al­ready-high ten­sions on the Korean penin­sula.

Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Yang Jiechi and his Rus­sian coun­ter­part, Sergei Lavrov, called for re­straint from all par­ties concerned to avoid es­ca­la­tion of ten­sion on the Korean penin­sula, ac­cord­ing to China's of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency.

Dur­ing tele­phone talks with Lavrov on Satur­day night, Yang, who is ac­com­pa­ny­ing Chi­nese Premier Wen Ji­abao on a visit to Pak­istan, said the sit­u­a­tion on the penin­sula has re­cently be­come tense and may fur­ther de­te­ri­o­rate, Xin­hua re­ported. -Ap

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