Security Council Draft Statement Condemns Sinking of S. Korean Vessel, Skirts Blame
The deal ended months of intensive efforts by South Korea to persuade North Korea’s chief ally, China, to back a council statement condemning its northern neighboring for launching a torpedo attack against the Cheonan, killing 46 Korean seamen. Last month, South Korea sent a delegation of top army, naval and intelligence officials to present the council with evidence proving the Cheonan was cut in half by a North Korean submarine.
The United States, France and other council members said the South Korean evidence represented “overwhelming” proof that North Korea bore responsibility for the attack. But in the end, China agreed only to allow the passage of a highly ambiguous statement that hints at North Korean complicity but shields Pyongyang from direct charges that it carried out an act of war.
The deal was struck during a morning meeting of the Security Council’s five permanent members — the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia — and Japan and North Korea. The United States formally distributed the statement to the full 15-nation council Thursday afternoon.