- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 16, 2006

NEW YORK — The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to condemn North Korea’s recent missile tests and to forbid U.N. member nations from providing financing or materials that could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction.

North Korea rejected the resolution, with Ambassador Pak Gil-yon calling it a political maneuver by Washington and Tokyo that was conceived with “the despicable aim of isolating and putting pressure” on his nation.

Mr. Pak, who was allowed to address the 15-nation council, said North Korea’s missile program contributed to stability on the peninsula, and indicated that tests would continue.

“It is clear to everyone that there is no need for the DPRK to unilaterally put on hold the missile launch under such situation,” he said, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the nation’s formal name.

The resolution yesterday describes the July 4-5 tests, in which North Korea fired seven missiles, as “a threat to international peace and security.”

The council document:

• “Demands that the DPRK suspend all activities related to its ballistic missile program, and in this context re-establish its pre-existing commitments to a moratorium on missile launching.

• “Requires all Member States, in accordance with their national legal authorities and legislation and consistent with international law, to exercise vigilance and prevent the procurement of missiles or missile-related items, materials, goods and technology from the DPRK and the transfer of any financial resources in relation to DPRK’s missile or [weapons of mass destruction] programs.

• “Strongly urges the DPRK to return immediately to the Six-Party Talks, without precondition.” The talks involve the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

The resolution was not adopted under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which would have authorized military or economic consequences for violating its demands.

The United States, Japan and Britain had sought the Chapter 7 designation but agreed to lighten the language to avoid a veto by China.

Nonetheless, it was the first council resolution in 13 years against North Korea and the first time the council has addressed the increasingly erratic dictatorship since a press statement in 1998.

“Since the words of the North Korean leadership and the agreements it signs have consistently over time been shown to hold little value, it is only appropriate for the international community and the Security Council to evaluate North Korea based on its actions — actions which have been deeply disturbing,” U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton said.

“It would be dangerous for the international community and this council to look at these missile launches in isolation from North Korea’s unrelenting pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” he said.

Mr. Bolton, the former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, also noted that Pyongyang vigorously proliferates its missile technology.

He praised the resolution as a “firm, clear, unambiguous action” but wryly noted that North Korea had set a record by rejecting it within 45 minutes of its adoption.

Council members insisted that North Korea’s rejection of the resolution did not diminish its power.

“I don’t think that this is something completely unexpected,” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after the vote. “It doesn’t change the resolution. It doesn’t change the unity of the Security Council.”

French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, who presides over the council for the month of July, noted that the resolution is binding on all countries not to assist North Korea’s missile or weapons programs.

The text was drafted and circulated by Japan, the United States and Britain.

Rather than citing Chapter 7, the resolution said the council had acted “under its special responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.”

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