The 15-member United National Security Council has unanimously adopted a presidential statement condemning the April 5 rocket launch by North Korea, allegedly to place a communication satellite in orbit. The statement said that the launch is “in contravention of Security Council resolution 1718.” The resolution, issued in the wake of a nuclear weapon test by Pyongyang on Oct. 9, 2006, demands that North Korea does “not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile.”

The non-binding presidential statement is a product of compromise among Japan, the United States and China. But it expresses the international community’s determination not to accept the North’s actions. The statement demands that the North does “not conduct any further launch.”

The statement also calls for early resumption of the six-party talks for denuclearization of North Korea and calls on a UNSC sanctions committee to designate additional goods and entities subject to sanctions on the country.

After the statement was issued, North Korea said that it “will never participate in the talks any longer, nor it will be bound to any agreement of the six-party talks.” Under a deal made in the talks, North Korea had been disabling facilities at its Yongbyon nuclear complex. The North also said that it “will bolster its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way.” Pyongyang’s likely aim is to gain concessions from the parties involved in the talks and to prompt the U.S. to hold bilateral discussions on the normalization of diplomatic relations.

Unity among Japan, the U.S., China, Russia and South Korea is imperative to force North Korea to refrain from engaging in further reckless behavior. The North should realize that if it does not return to the six-party talks, the international community will increase pressure on it and its isolation will deepen.

China, chair of the six-party talks and North Korea’s biggest trade partner, is in a position to influence Pyongyang. Japan should work to gain greater cooperation from China and intensify its joint efforts with the U.S. and South Korea.

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