U.N. delays reaction on N. Korean launch

April 5, 2009 at 7:51 PM
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NEW YORK, April 5 (UPI) -- The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Sunday but did not formulate an official reaction to North Korea's launch of a long-range rocket.

The launch has drawn strong international criticism, with the United States calling it "a provocative act" and "a threat to the northeast Asian region and to international peace and security."

Claude Heller -- the Mexican U.N. ambassador and the current head of the council under its rotating presidency -- told reporters after Sunday's emergency session the council would meet again to take up the question. However, he did not say when that meeting would take place, CNN reported.

"Consultations will go on among members to see what is the appropriate position that the council will take," Heller said.

North Korea called the event a peaceful launch of a satellite, but Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called it a "clear-cut violation" of a U.N. resolution prohibiting North Korea from conducting ballistic missile launches. Rice said the launch "merits a clear, strong response" from the Security Council.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement saying the launch countered efforts to promote regional stability.

"Given the volatility in the region, as well as a stalemate in interaction among the concerned parties, such a launch is not conducive to efforts to promote dialog, regional peace and stability," Ban said in the statement.

China called for calm and said it hoped the crisis could be resolved in a "peaceful way."

South Korea's government condemned the launch, calling it a "serious threat" to world peace, Yonhap news agency reported.

In Prague, where he was meeting with European leaders, U.S. President Barack Obama said North Korea's missile development threatens countries near and far with the possibility of weapons of mass destruction.

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