UN fails to reach consensus on Korean crisis

Updated: 2010-12-20 12:27
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UNITED NATIONS/SEOUL - The UN Security Council on Sunday failed to reach a consens on the crisis of the Korean Peninsula after eight hours of closed-door consultations, due to the gaps among the council members, diplomats said here.

"While we still are waiting for firm clear instructions from every capital. I think its safe to predict that the gaps that remain are unlikely to be bridged," said San Rice, the US UN ambassador.

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"We also outlined our position that it is important for the two sides to act in a fashion that promotes peace and security, " Rice told reporters.

"We have also spent much of today trying to discs in the context of the Council how we might respond to the call of the Rsian Federation for a Council press statement," she said.

Tensions on the Peninsula are escalating as South Korea said it would conduct a live-fire drill at noon on Monday from Yeonpyeong island.

Residents of Yeonpyeong were told to take shelter ahead of the drill, which officials there said was part of routine exercises spended after the DPRK's deadly artillery shelling on the island on November 23.

Rsia asked the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting on Saturday in a bid to ease the rising tension on the Korean Peninsula.

Rsian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters on Sunday that the Secuity Council members failed to reach an agreement on his proposal that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediately sends a special representative to the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) for consultations on how to settle the current crisis of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

"That idea of the secretary-general appointing an envoy did receive considerable support, strong support I could say from a number of members of the Security Council. So I hope that idea can still be pursued," he said. "Becae now we have a situation of very serio political tension and no game plan on the diplomatic side."

Churkin also said that he regretted that the Council did not meet on Saturday on the current mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"We were not successful in bridging all the gaps," Churkin said.

"Let me reiterate, very strong concern of the Rsian Federation that within hours there may be a serio aggravation of tensions, a serio conflict for that matter, so in the big chamber when we had this private meeting which was also of course asked for by the Rsian Federation, we reiterated a call for restraint on both parties in no uncertain terms," Churkin said.

The ROK will conduct a live-fire drill on Monday from a western border island, Yeonpyeong Island, which was hit by DPRK fire during the artillery shelling exchanges last month.

Churkin said it would be better if the ROK did not stage the live-fire military exercise at present time.

"So even though this day in the Security Council, these two days in fact, yesterday and today which we spent in discsion among Council members, and this closed meeting of the Security Council where the two parties, the two Korean sides also had a chance to speak," Churkin said.

Eeach of the ambassadors of the ROK and the DPRK was allowed to speak for two minutes at the closed-door Council meeting, diplomatic sources said.

"I think most importantly (the two Korean sides) had a chance to listen to the messages of the members of the Security Council -- I'd like to think that this meeting of the Council will have an impact on the situation," Churkin said.

Churkin said on Saturday the situation on the Korean Peninsula "directly affects the national security interests of the Rsian Federation." Rsia shares border with the DPRK.

"We are serioly concerned about possible further escalation of tension on the Korean Peninsula," Churkin said. "We believe that the Security Council mt send a restraining signal" to the the DPRK and the ROK.

"The members of the Security Council called upon all parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid any steps which could cae a further escalation of tension in the Korean Peninsula and the entire region," the draft statement said.

The drill is likely to be held between 11 a.m. (GMT0200) and noon (GMT0300), Seoul's Yonhap News Agency said, citing unidentified sources.

The DPRK, saying its recent shelling was for its self-defense, rapped Seoul's planned firing drill and warned of further "self-defensive blows."

Pyongyang has never recognized a disputed maritime border near Yeonpyeong, unilaterally drawn by the US-led UN military forces at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The two sides have had fatal naval skirmishes near the sea border.