SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The U.N. Security Council has issued a statement strongly condemning North Korea’s rocket launch and pledging to “expeditiously” adopt a new resolution with “significant” new sanctions.
The statement approved by all 15 council members at an emergency meeting on Sunday underscored that launches using ballistic missile technology, “even if characterized as a satellite launch or space launch vehicle” contribute to North Korea’s development of systems to deliver nuclear weapons.
It stressed that using ballistic missile technology is a violation of four Security Council resolutions dating back to 2006.
The statement also expresses the council’s commitment “to continue working toward a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation leading to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
Alabama Senator Richard Shelby issued this statement Sunday morning condemning the missile launch:
The North Korean regime continues to expand and improve its missile and nuclear programs. Yesterday’s launch underscores the critical importance of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. If North Korea ever foolishly decides to launch a missile at the United States, the GMD system will protect the American people and our homeland.
The United States and China have been trying to agree on new sanctions since North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Jan. 6. Diplomats say China has been pushing for more dialogue rather than tough new sanctions.
Russia has criticized North Korea’s rocket launch, saying Pyongyang once again has shown its disdain for international law.
Britain, France and Ukraine also called for swift and tough new sanctions.
Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa said before heading into Sunday’s closed council meeting that the missile passed over Japan and landed near the Philippines, “and this is a clear threat to the lives of many people.”