June 15, 2010 07:21
The UN Security Council started discussion on Monday afternoon about the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan. The UNSC expects to hear South and North Korean views about the incident.
South Korea's investigation team led by Yoon Duk-yong, an honorary professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, will say that the North sank the warship in clear violation of the UN Charter and the armistice agreement that ended the Korean War in 1953 and show footage of the Navy salvaging a North Korean torpedo propulsion device discovered on the seabed near where the Cheonan sank.
Investigators will stress that all members of the international inquiry team from the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Sweden agreed that chemical substances found in the propulsion shaft and the shipwreck were identical.
Earlier, the North asked Mexico, the current chair of the UNSC, for an opportunity to explain its position. According to a diplomatic source, the UNSC agreed to give the North a chance before it makes its decision.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, in an interview on Fox News said the sinking "was an outrageous act of aggression that we condemn and it needs to be punished. Our hearts go out to the families of the sailors whose lives were lost in that event."
U.S. Assistant Secretary of state Kurt Campbell will fly to Seoul on Wednesday with the U.S. chief nuclear negotiator Sung Kim to discuss the UNSC response to the sinking with South Korean officials.
Campbell will discuss a Seoul-Washington summit on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Canada in late June.
Believing that it is unlikely the UNSC can agree a firm resolution sanctioning the North due to opposition from North Korea's staunchest ally China, which has a veto as a permanent member, South Korean and the U.S. are already aiming only at a so-called chairman's statement denouncing the North. The UNSC is expected to make a decision next month.
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