U.N. threat­ens new penal­ties in blast­ing N. Korean mis­sile launch

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - NATION & WORLD - By Edith M. Led­erer

UNITED NA­TIONS — The U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil threat­ened new sanc­tions against North Korea on Thurs­day in a strong­ly­worded con­dem­na­tion of its lat­est mis­sile launch af­ter the U.S. agreed to a Rus­sian re­quest to in­clude a call for “dia­logue” with Py­ongyang.

The coun­cil said North Korea’s il­le­gal mis­sile and nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties “are greatly in­creas­ing ten­sion in the re­gion and be­yond” and ex­pressed “ut­most con­cern” at its “highly desta­bi­liz­ing be­hav­ior and fla­grant and provoca­tive de­fi­ance” of six U.N. sanc­tions res­o­lu­tions.

The U.N.’s most pow­er­ful body de­manded an im­me­di­ate end to the North’s nu­clear and mis­sile tests and threat­ened to take “fur­ther sig­nif­i­cant mea­sures” — U.N. code for new sanc­tions.

The U.S. had ac­cused Rus­sia of block­ing a coun­cil state­ment Wed­nes­day that China, North Korea’s clos­est ally, had agreed to by in­sist­ing on in­clud­ing lan­guage from pre­vi­ous coun­cil state­ments call­ing for “dia­logue” with Py­ongyang.

But Rus­sia’s deputy am­bas­sador Petr Ili­ichev told re­porters Thurs­day morn­ing that the U.S. acted in an “abrupt man­ner” and in­sisted that Moscow didn’t block the state­ment and was open to dis­cus­sions.

The state­ment is­sued later Thurs­day by the coun­cil in­cluded the lan­guage Rus­sia wanted.

It ex­presses the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s com­mit­ment “to a peace­ful, diplo­matic and po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion” and wel­comes ef­forts by coun­cil mem­bers and other coun­tries “to fa­cil­i­tate a peace­ful and com­pre­hen­sive so­lu­tion through dia­logue.”

Coun­cil di­plo­mats, speak­ing anony­mously, said the U.S., which is in charge of draft­ing coun­cil state­ments and res­o­lu­tions on North Korea, had dropped the call for “dia­logue” as part of its ef­fort to toughen the text.

“Every­one came to­gether,” U.S. Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley told re­porters. “I think at the end of the day we re­al­ized North Korea is a prob­lem and no one on the coun­cil wants to see North Korea move for­ward with any sort of test­ing or strikes and if we have to start look­ing at sanc­tions or other ac­tions we will.”

Ten­sions have es­ca­lated over North Korean moves to ac­cel­er­ate its arms pro­grams, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ing an in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile that could reach the United States and an­nounc­ing that a de­clared pri­or­ity is to de­velop a hy­dro­gen bomb.

North Korea con­ducted two nu­clear bomb tests and 24 bal­lis­tic mis­sile tests last year, de­fy­ing Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions ban­ning test­ing, and it has con­ducted ad­di­tional mis­sile tests this year, in­clud­ing the one that failed Sun­day.

Coun­cil mem­bers em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing peace and se­cu­rity on the Korean Penin­sula, north­east Asia and be­yond.

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