Clinton Warns N.Korea of UN Action if Rocket Launched
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday warned North Korea of UN action if it goes ahead with a rocket launch, but it remained uncertain what measures the Security Council would take.
With North Korea expected to test a long-range rocket within days or even hours, Clinton met with fellow foreign ministers from the Group of Eight powers and said that the communist state faced a “clear choice.”
“It can pursue peace and reap the benefits of closer ties with the international community, including the United States, or it can continue to face pressure and isolation. If Pyongyang goes forward, we will all be back in the Security Council to take further action,” Clinton told reporters.
Clinton said that such a path would be regrettable, noting that the United States had agreed just weeks earlier to deliver food aid to the impoverished state in return for its pledges to freeze its nuclear and missile programs.
“But in the current atmosphere, we would not be able to go forward with that, and other actions that other countries had been considering would also be on hold,” Clinton said.
The State Department announced that Kurt Campbell, its top official on East Asia, would leave Saturday to consult with South Korea and Japan, treaty-bound US allies that are arch-enemies of North Korea.
North Korea has said that it will launch its Unha-3 (Galaxy-3) rocket by Monday as the world’s only communist dynasty celebrates the centennial of the birth of its founder Kim Il-Sung.
North Korea, led since December by Kim Il-Sung’s young grandson Kim Jong-Un, says that the rocket to be fired from a newly built space center will put a satellite into orbit.
But Clinton said there was “no doubt” that the launch would use ballistic missile technology — a violation of UN Security Council resolution 1874, which was adopted unanimously in 2009 after North Korea carried out a nuclear test.
“We urge the North Korean leadership to honor its agreements and refrain from pursuing a cycle of provocation,” Clinton said.
Clinton said there was agreement over “additional steps” by the Group of Eight — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States — as well as the five nations in moribund denuclearization talks with North Korea, which include Pyongyang’s main ally China.
But it remained unclear what action the Security Council would take as North Korea is already one of the world’s most sanctioned and isolated nations.
A pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan, along with South Korean intelligence, have both held out the possibility that Pyongyang would carry out a new nuclear test if tensions mount over its rocket launch.