The Security Council just passed a “presidential statement” condemning an attack that sunk the South Korean naval ship The Cheonan, killing 46 seamen. To secure the support of China, though, the statement did not directly lay blame on North Korea for the incident. From the UN News Service:
“The Security Council condemns the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan,” the 15-member body said in a statement read out by Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu of Nigeria, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month.
It added that such an incident “endangers peace and security in the region and beyond.”
The Council expressed its deep concern over the findings of the international report, but noted that the DPRK has “stated that it had nothing to do with the incident.”
Welcoming the restraint showed by the ROK, the Council stressed the importance of maintaining peace on the Korean Peninsula as well as in all of North-East Asia.
The Council encouraged “the settlement of outstanding issues on the Korean peninsula by peaceful means to resume direct dialogue and negotiation through appropriate channels as early as possible, with a view to avoiding conflicts and averting escalation.”
It urged the DPRK to fulfil its commitments under the now-suspended Six-Party Talks which sought to resolve the crisis over the country’s nuclear programme.
Still, judging by some statements coming from Council members this morning, it is clear that the statement was pretty tough on the DPRK:
The UN Security Council’s condemnation of North Korea’s attack on the South Korean ship Cheonan sends a clear message that such irresponsible and provocative behavior is a threat to peace and security in the region and will not be tolerated. Attacks on the Republic of Korea are unacceptable and the United States joins the Security Council in calling
for North Korea to uphold the Korean Armistice Agreement. Today’s Security Council action underscores the unity of the international community and the reality that a peaceful resolution of the issues on the Korean Peninsula will only be possible if North Korea fundamentally changes its behavior. It must comply with international law and obligations, live up to its commitments in the Six-Party Joint
Statement of 2005, and refrain from provocative behavior. [emp mine]
The commitment of the United States to South Korea’s security and sovereignty is unwavering. Later this month, I will travel to Seoul for further consultations with our South Korean allies. We applaud the Republic of Korea’s careful handling of this situation and we join the Security Council in again expressing our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this tragic attack.