South Korean officials on Friday said they were satisfied with a U.N. Security Council draft statement that condemns the attack that sank a South Korean navy vessel in March but does not directly link it to North Korea.
A vote on the statement was expected Friday, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Thursday that the draft submitted to the 15-nation council was supported by the five permanent members of the council - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - plus Japan and South Korea.
She said the text is “very clear” in that it is an appropriate response by the council to the March 26 attack that downed the Cheonan vessel, allegedly by a North Korean torpedo.
Pyongyang has strongly denied any responsibility, but South Korea has insisted it was carried out by Pyongyang, according to the conclusions of an international investigation.
The draft statement “deplores” the attack, Yonhap said. It also takes note of North Korea’s denial but says the Security Council was deeply concerned over the findings of the international inquiry.
The text does not seek to condemn North Korea but only the attack on the South Korean vessel, U.N. diplomats said.
“The Security Council defined the nature of the Cheonan crisis as an ‘attack’ and condemned such action,” the South Korean official said on the condition of anonymity.
“It noted the result of the investigation that held North Korea responsible and expressed deep concern over that, so the council essentially condemned North Korea,” the official was quoted as saying.
Among the council members, the U.N. has been the strongest supporter of South Korea while China has refused to blame North Korea. Russia, traditionally another ally of North Korea, has not said where it stands.
North Korea rejected the accusation from South Korea and has threatened an “all-out war” against its neighbour if the incident is brought before the council.