After intensive negotiations, the United Nations Security Council could vote as early as tomorrow on a United States resolution calling for action against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) over its reported nuclear test, although the final position of veto-wielding Russia and China was not yet clear.
The United Kingdom, France, Slovakia and Japan are co-sponsoring the resolution and “several others indicated their support,” Council President for October Ambassador Kenzo Oshima of Japan told reporters after the 15-member body held consultations this morning, adding that the US intends to put it to a vote tomorrow.
“Members also emphasized the need for the Council to act in unity as well as the need to take swift action. The Chinese and Russian ambassadors again explained their position,” he said.
The five permanent members who have veto power – China, France, Russia, the UK and the US – were holding further meetings today together with Japan. One of the key questions has been the issue of sanctions and their enforcement.
Although all members strongly condemned the reported test in consultations on Monday, Mr. Oshima said on Tuesday that a major focus was whether to invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter that allows for sanctions and the use of force in the case of a threat to or breach of peace.
Asked again about the timing of the vote, Mr. Oshima said: “I believe the intention of the United States is to put the text sometime today – that would imply that they will be putting it to a vote tomorrow.
“There may be changes of course because there are still a lot of consultations going on among Member States. This certainly will continue in the afternoon in a very intensive way. So I do not preclude the possibility of a little bit of delay but I think at least the intention of the proposal of the United States and that of the co-sponsors is to have it voted tomorrow.”
UN officials, led by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, have insisted on the urgent need for the DPRK to return to the Six-Party Talks that have been seeking to resolve the issue of its nuclear programme. The talks between China, DPRK, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia and US have been going on sporadically in Beijing for several years.