Japan asks UN to convene Security Council after NK launch

Posted at 12/12/12 10:45 AM

NEW YORK (UPDATED) - Japan has requested the United Nations to open emergency consultations by the Security Council following North Korea's rocket launch.  

After the launch of what Japan believes to be a long-range missile, Ambassador Tsuneo Nishida made the request Tuesday to the council's chair, Morocco, according to a spokesman.

The meeting is expected to focus on reinforcing sanctions against North Korea -- known officially as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- as well as whether to issue a resolution or presidential statement.

Security Council members are also apparently vigilant on further actions the DPRK might take, namely a nuclear test, given it detonated nuclear devices just after its missile launches in 2006 and 2009.

Morocco is the chair of the Security Council for December. Japan and South Korea, both of which are currently not members of the council, are believed to be closely coordinating with the United States, a permanent Security Council member.

The Security Council issued a presidential statement after the DPRK's failed missile launch in April and warned that it will "take action accordingly in the event of a further DPRK launch or nuclear test."

Japan, the United States and South Korea appear intent on seeking stronger actions, such as financial sanctions and expanded inspection of cargo to and from the DPRK.

China, a veto-empowered council member and ally of the DPRK, could take a less aggressive stance. Before the launch, Beijing has expressed a hope "the parties concerned can take a long-term perspective, deal with (the launch) calmly, and avoid taking actions that may further escalate the situation."

China may confront the United States and other countries by arguing that tougher measures would push the DPRK to undertake a nuclear test.

The five permanent members of the Security Council, all nuclear powers, are thought to share a sense of deep concern regarding nuclear proliferation. A hidden agenda of the Security Council consultations is preventing a nuclear test by Pyongyang, a Security Council diplomatic source said.