Security Council debates North Korea tensions

19th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

The UN Security Council held emergency talks Sunday on escalating tensions between North and South Korea, with Russia demanding a special UN envoy seek "urgent measures" talks between the two, diplomats said.

Russia, which demanded the meeting saying the council must send a "restraining signal" to both Koreas, wants UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send a special envoy for talks with the rival states, diplomats said.

A draft statement distributed by Russia to the other 14 Security Council members called for "maximum restraint" by North and South Korea, diplomats said.

The Russian document sought "a resumption of dialogue and resolution of all problems dividing them exclusively through peaceful diplomatic means," diplomats said.

South Korea has vowed to go ahead with live firing drill exercises on the island of Yeonpyeong which the North shelled last month, killing two civilians and two South Korean marines and causing a spike in military tensions.

North Korea has warned of "disaster" if the exercise goes ahead and South Korea said it has seen signs that the North Korean military is on higher alert.

The statement before the Security Council would call on Ban "to dispatch without delay" a special representative to North and South Korea "to consult on urgent measures to settle peacefully the current crisis situation in the Korean peninsula."

Russia called for the emergency meeting on Saturday and expressed some anger that it was only held the next day.

"We are seriously concerned about possible further escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula," Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said Saturday.

"We believe that the Security Council must send a restraining signal to" South and North Korea, he added.

The council must "help launch diplomatic activities with a view to resolving all issue of dispute between the two Korean sides by political and diplomatic means."

Churkin expressed regret that the United States, the Security Council president for December, did not call an immediate meeting. The US mission said however that it was organised for Sunday to give all countries time to consult with their governments.

© 2010 AFP

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