- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2006

2:17 p.m.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council urged North Korea today to cancel a planned nuclear test and return immediately to talks on scrapping its nuclear weapons program, saying that exploding such a device would threaten international peace and security.

A statement adopted unanimously by the council expressed “deep concern” over North Korea’s announcement.

It was read at a formal meeting by the council president, Ambassador Kenzo Oshima of Japan, and warned of unspecified council action if North Korea ignores international calls not to conduct a test.

Japan, which would be in close proximity to any North Korean test, proposed the initial text. Mr. Oshima had pressed to have it adopted before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe travels to Beijing on Sunday and Seoul on Monday with a message that the North should stop testing.

“We very clearly and strongly believe that to threaten conducting nuclear tests, or even worse, to conduct such tests … would not help anybody including North Korea,” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said. “This message is very clearly conveyed in the useful presidential statement which we today adopted. … Let’s hope that things will cool off and that everybody will return to six-party talks.”

The statement urges the North not to carry out the test, saying it would not help the North address its concerns, especially strengthening its security.

It warns Pyongyang that a nuclear test would bring international condemnation, “jeopardize peace, stability and security in the region and beyond,” and lead to further unspecified council action.

The council said it “deplores” the pursuit of nuclear weapons by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“The Security Council will be monitoring the situation closely,” the statement says. “The Security Council stresses that a nuclear test, if carried out by the DPRK, would represent a clear threat to international peace and security and that should the DPRK ignore calls of the international community, the Security Council will act consistent with its responsibility under the Charter of the United Nations.”

The statement also urges North Korea to return immediately to six-party talks on its nuclear program and work toward implementation of a September 2005 agreement in which the North pledged to give up its nuclear program in exchange for aid and security guarantees.

North Korea has boycotted the six-nation talks for a year, angered by American financial restrictions imposed because of the North’s alleged illegal activities such as money laundering and counterfeiting.

At closed-door consultations today, the council decided to issue the text as a presidential statement rather than a press statement. Presidential statements have greater weight because they become part of the council’s official record. Press statements reflect the council’s unanimous thinking but do not become part its record.

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