China, UN rebuke North Korea for rocket launch

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The United Nations Security Council met behind closed doors Friday and issued tough statements right before North Korea's holiday.
Video: Crtew & United Nations.
North Korea's Unha-3 rocket ready to launch at Tangachai-ri space center on April 8.It was launched April 13.
Image: Sungwon Baik / VOA.

China has joined other members of the United Nations Security Council in openly warning North Korea against future provocations and took several diplomatic measures on Tuesday and Wednesday.

China's foreign ministry released a statement Wednesday that urged a return to talks: "We believe that maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula is in the interest of all parties ... Dialogue and negotiation is the only correct way out."

The statement came after North Korea's announcement Tuesday that it would no longer honor the testing agreements that have been made with the United States. The United States halted its food aid, which had been part of the agreements, after Friday's failed launch.

Also on Tuesday, China delivered another stern warning to the nation through its party newspaper Global Times. In the statement, China expressed impatience with its neighbor and said China's foreign policy toward North Korea would not be hijacked by North Korea's leaders. Behind the scenes, China has ceased the repatriation of North Korean nationals on Chinese territory.

Diplomatic pressure on North Korea continued this week as the country remained defiant during its celebration Sunday. Kim Jong-un gave his first formal address on Sunday in the aftermath of Friday's failed attempt to launch a multistage rocket into orbit and in honor of the anniversary of Kim Il-sung's 100th birthday. North Korea publicly acknowledged that its rocket broke up in flight and over ocean waters before ever taking orbit Friday morning.

The United Nations criticized North Korea over the weekend for a satellite launch that member states saw as a "provocative" move, which followed shortly after the country's launch. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the attempt "deplorable" and said it "threatens regional stability." Corinne Momal-Vanian, UN spokesperson, said, "The Secretary-General urges the (North Korean government) not to undertake any further provocative actions that will heighten tension in the region."

The UN Security Council met in a closed session Friday. Susan Rice, who is both the current UN Security Council president and US ambassador to the United Nations, said, "The United States' view of this is quite clear, we have condemned the launch. We view it as a direct violation of resolution 1718 and 1874. We think it’s important that the Council respond credibly and we will be working in that direction."

While China is being openly critical of North Korea, it has a veto right on the UN Security Council that has prevented further sanctions. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said China stood with other member nations of the Security Council in penalizing North Korea for future actions.

In a nation where speeches by leaders are rare, the young North Korean leader on Sunday said, "Superiority in military technology is no longer monopolized by imperialists." The public event finished with the display of a new rocket and it further punctuated Kim Jong-un's call for making the military the nation's number one priority.