UN Security Council No Closer to Decision Over Cheonan

      July 06, 2010 07:53

      The UN Security Council has failed to come up with a response to North Korea's sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan a month since South Korea referred the torpedo attack to it.

      Seoul is discussing with the U.S. and other allies how to persuade the UNSC to adopt at least a chairman's statement condemning the North's provocation. As a non-permanent member, South Korea cannot attend meetings of permanent members, but permanent members the U.S. and the U.K. which support South Korea's position, have kept meeting behind the scenes.

      But China, another permanent member, continues to block any term or phrase that would point directly to its ally North Korea as the culprit.

      A diplomatic source on Monday said UNSC members feel under pressure to reach some kind of decision. No regulations stipulate that cases at the UNSC are dropped unless they are handled by a certain deadline, but if discussion is delayed indefinitely due to deadlock caused by China's opposition, the Cheonan case could be put on the back burner indefinitely since the council has a heavy load of other cases.

      Some government officials are talking about getting China to abstain from voting on a resolution, if it is realistically difficult to persuade all permanent members to adopt a chairman's statement. China faces criticism that a veto would amount to tacit support of North Korea's armed attack on the Cheonan.

      A Foreign Ministry official said, "It's true that the situation hasn't turned out as we expected. But if we give the impression that we're pressed for time it may put us at a disadvantage in negotiations."

      The government, however, does not rule out that the UNSC permanent members will suddenly reach a compromise this week since there appears to be consensus among them that they cannot afford to leave the case unsolved indefinitely.

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