US: UN draft would condemn attack on South Korea ship
The United States said Thursday a draft statement being studied by the UN Security Council would condemn the attack that sank a navy vessel of South Korea in March, resulting in the deaths of 46 sailors, dpa reported.
US Ambassador Susan Rice said the draft submitted to the 15-nation council was approved by the five permanent members of the council - the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain - plus Japan and South Korea.
She said the text is "very clear" in that it is an appropriate response by the council to the March 26 attack that downed the Cheonan vessel, allegedly by North Korea.
Pyongyang has strongly denied any responsibility. But South Korea insists it was carried out by Pyongyang according to the conclusions of an international investigation.
The text does not seek to condemn North Korea but only the attack on the South Korean vessel, UN diplomats said.
"It is very clear in that it takes a clear account of the finding of the joint investigation, and it condemns the attack," Rice said.
If approved by the council, it would send a "unified message that the Security Council condemns the attack of March 26, which led to the sinking of the Cheonan," she said. "In short, this important statement will show the council's unity in confronting threats to international peace and security, and underscores the importance of preventing further attacks."
Rice said the text would emphasize the critical need to maintain stability on the Korean peninsula and in the larger region. She said the US will work with council members to push for its adoption. The text is to be called a presidential statement because it would be read by the council president for July, Nigeria's Ambassador U Joy Ogwu.
South Korea said the vessel was downed by a torpedo fired allegedly by North Korea and it hired investigators from several countries to probe the incident.
The US among the council members has been the strongest supporter of South Korea, while China has refused to blame North Korea. Russia has not said where it stands. Britain and France usually side with the US on security matters.
North Korea rejected the accusation from South Korea and has threatened an "all out war" against its neighbour if the incident is brought before the council. South Korea complained to the council and demanded that the body take measures appropriate to the importance of the attack.