Seoul delays request for UN resolution on North Korea

Other News Materials 3 June 2010 08:33 (UTC +04:00)

Seoul has not decided yet when to send an official request for a UN resolution in response to the alleged sinking of a South Korean warship by a North Korean submarine, a deputy foreign minister said, RIA Novosti reported.

South Korea's 1,200-ton Cheonan corvette sank near the disputed Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea on March 26, causing the loss of 46 lives. An international investigation revealed that North Korea fired a torpedo at the vessel from a submarine, although Pyongyang has denied the allegations.

"It [the timing] will depend on the UN Security Council's schedule," Chun Yung-woo told reporters in New York on Wednesday.

"We will send an official letter when the Security Council is ready to discuss this issue," the South Korean diplomat said.

Following the report by a team of independent investigators, South Korea froze economic relations and maritime communications with its northern neighbor, further crippling the North's economy, which is already damaged by UN sanctions intended to force it to quit its nuclear program.

North Korea retaliated by announcing it was cutting all ties with Seoul and allegedly ordered its 1.2-million armed forces to get ready for combat. It later announced the withdrawal of all its military safeguards in relations with the South and said it would scrap an agreement between the two countries aimed at preventing clashes off the west coast.

According to diplomatic sources in the UN, China's opposition to new sanctions against the reclusive and unpredictable Communist regime keeps in check Seoul's desire to further punish the North.

Press reports have suggested that if China speaks against the request, the UN Security Council will only be able to issue a statement by its chairman.

China earlier said it would not take sides in the current Korean crisis and any decision taken by the Security Council should lead to stabilization of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.