UNSC to hold emergency talks

NEW YORK (Kyodo) The U.N. Security Council planned to hold an emergency meeting on North Korea’s rocket launch, the Japanese Permanent Mission to the United Nations said.

Japanese Ambassador to the U.N. Yukio Takasu asked the president of the Security Council to convene an emergency meeting following North Korea’s rocket launch earlier in the day.

The meeting was to be held at 3 p.m. Sunday in New York, or 4 a.m. Monday Japan time, the permanent mission said.

The ambassador filed the request with Mexican Ambassador Claude Heller in a letter. Mexico assumed the rotating presidency of the Security Council this month.

“Upon instructions from my government, I have the honor to request you to convene an urgent meeting of the Security Council to consider the launch by (North Korea), under the council’s agenda item entitled ‘nonproliferation/Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,’ ” Takasu wrote.

North Korea, defying an international call for restraint, launched what it says is a communications satellite. Japan and allies such as the United States believe the launch was a cover for test-firing a long-range ballistic missile.

Japan, the U.S. and South Korea are set to confirm that the latest action by North Korea constitutes a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 1718, which bans Pyongyang from all activities related to its ballistic missile program.

The resolution was adopted unanimously in October 2006 after North Korea conducted a nuclear test.

Japan and the U.S. are likely to propose a new resolution in the Security Council seeking to reinforce the effectiveness of existing sanctions on North Korea, according to U.N. diplomatic sources.

The envisioned resolution will state clearly that North Korea’s action violates past Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1718, the sources said.

Among the five veto-wielding Security Council members, Britain and France have suggested the launch violates the resolution. However, China and Russia are more cautious, ensuring that talks at the Security Council meeting will be far from smooth.

Japan is currently on the Security Council as a nonpermament member.