U.N. council set to condemn North Korean rocket launch

By Updated at 2012-04-16 04:06:31 +0000


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - After days of closed-door haggling, the U.N. Security Council is hoping to adopt a statement on Monday condemning North Korea's botched rocket launch and suggesting an expansion of a U.N. blacklist of North Korean firms and individuals, envoys said.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said on Friday the members of the 15-nation Security Council "deplored" North Korea's failed bid to launch a long-range rocket, but that the council would continue talks on a formal condemnation of the actions of the hermit state.

Diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity that China, North Korea's closest ally, was pushing for a softer rebuke than the one favored by the United States, which holds this month's Security Council presidency.

"Unless China raises objections overnight, we'll adopt a presidential Statement on DPRK (North Korea) tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. (1400 GMT)," a Western diplomat told Reuters.

Unlike resolutions, council statements are not voted on but are adopted unanimously.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, has also deplored the rocket launch.

North Korea admitted its long-range rocket failed to deliver a satellite into orbit on Friday while U.S. and South Korean officials said it crashed into the sea a few minutes after launch.

Diplomats said no council member had pushed the idea of imposing new sanctions on Pyongyang in retaliation for the launch, something China and Russia would have opposed.

However, they said the draft statement does urge the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee to consider adding new names to an existing U.N. blacklist of firms and individuals linked to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile industries.

U.S. and other Western officials have said the launch violated a U.N. ban on the use of ballistic missile technology by North Korea, a measure the Security Council imposed on Pyongyang in the wake of its 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.

(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; editing by Christopher Wilson)