The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) failed Sunday to come up with an immediate unified response to North Korea's controversial rocket-launch, with its permanent members who matter sharply divided over the course of action, reports say.
The U.S., Britain and France pressed Sunday for a 'strong condemnation' of the Stalinist regime during the three-hour closed-door emergency meeting, convened at the request of Japan, but Communist allies Russia, China and Vietnam as also Libya, Uganda called for restraint.
Despite intense pressure from America, Japan and South Korea, the 15-member Council only agreed to continue to discuss the matter, winding up for the night without issuing even the customary preliminary statement of condemnation (Without unanimity, the Security Council is powerless to recommend any action or adopt any resolution, a legacy of the 1945 political conditions).
Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama, faced with his first global security crisis, called on the United Nations for quick action, including expansion of arms and financial sanctions.
North Korea broke the rules, once more, by testing a rocket that could be used for long-range missiles, he said in Prague, adding: It creates instability in that region, around the world. This provocation underscores the need for action, not just this afternoon in the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.
Washington and its allies say the launch violated the Security Council resolutions banning North Korea from conducing ballistic missile tests.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1718 was passed in 2006 to press Pyongyang by imposing sanctions to pressurize the impoverished nation to halt its ballistic missile-launches and nuclear tests.
The Council was expected to consider a presidential or press statement but that requires the consent of its permanent members members. The other course is to bring a resolution but then Russia and China, who have the veto power along with the United States, Britain and France, have to be brought on board.
American U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who led the nations seeking immediate condemnation, said that the use of ballistic missile technology was a clear violation of the Council resolution, adding that the launch was not an issue.
Washington and its allies accuse North Korea of having intentions to test a long-range missile--the Taepodong-2--capable of hitting the U.S. Pacific state of Alaska.
Council diplomats said the initial reaction of Russia and China was that North Korea had not violated any resolution but both permanent members of the council left enough maneuvering room to change their positions.
Russian envoy Igor Schcherbak argued that the launch did not violate the Council resolutions banning ballistic missile test while saying that his country was studying the issue--leaving a window for a compromise.
China's Yesui Zhang said North Korea, like all other countries, had the right to launch satellites, but advised all countries to show restraint and refrain from taking any action, which might increase tensions.
Diplomats said Washintgon was expected to increase pressure on Moscow and Beijing to toe their line, as it would otherwise send a wrong signal to North Korea if it found that the international community was found divided.
For China, it would be prudent to tread cautiously, as Beijing is North Korea's closest ally, and would not like to lose influence it has over the country's leaders, going all the back back to the 1950 Korean war days.
Earlier Sunday, North Korea's state-run media announced that its experimental communication satellite had successfully been put into orbit.
However, the United States and South Korea say that despite Pyongyang's claim, the North failed to place its satellite into orbit.
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