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Updated: July 9, 2010 12:15 IST

U.N. draft condemns sinking of South Korean warship

PTI
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A giant offshore crane salvages portion of the sunken South Korean naval ship Cheonan in April. File photo
AP A giant offshore crane salvages portion of the sunken South Korean naval ship Cheonan in April. File photo

"We think the statement is very clear. It puts forth the factual foundation and it expresses the Council’s judgement that the attack on the ship is to be condemned," the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. said.

The United States has tabled a draft statement in the U.N. Security Council condemning the sinking of a South Korean warship in March near a disputed border area in the Yellow Sea that killed 46 sailors.

The statement, which has been agreed to by the five permanent members of the Security Council - the U.S., China, Britain, France and Russia - along with South Korea and Japan, does not directly condemn North Korea for the incident.

“In short this important statement shows the Council’s unity in confronting threats to peace and security,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, told journalists after the meeting.

“It underscores the importance of preventing further attacks and emphasises the critical need to maintain peace and security in the Korean peninsula and the larger region.”

The statement, which was circulated to all the 15 members of the Security Council, is expected to come up for voting today.

“We think the statement is very clear. It puts forth the factual foundation and it expresses the Council’s judgement that the attack on the ship is to be condemned,” Mr. Rice said.

An international investigation led by South Korea, made public in May, revealed that the Cheonan naval warship was torpedoed by North Korea on March 26.

On June 4, Seoul sent a letter to the Security Council asking it to respond to Pyongyang’s military provocation.

North Korea has denied sinking the ship and asked for sending its own probe-team to South Korea or for a joint investigation by both the Koreas. Pyongyang also warned of military action if the Security Council condemns it.

“If the Security Council release any documents against us condemning or questioning us in any document then myself as a diplomat, I can do nothing,” Sin Son Ho, North Korea’s Ambassador to the U.N., had said.

“But the follow-up measures will be carried out by our military forces.”

Apparently due to China’s pressure, the declaration has been toned than what the U.S., South Korea and Japan originally wanted it to be. Beijing was against a direct condemnation or passing another set of sanctions against Pyongyang.

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