Pyongyang ‘satisfied’ with UN statement

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Pyongyang ‘satisfied’ with UN statement

North Korea reacted calmly over the weekend to the presidential statement by the UN Security Council last Friday that condemned the attack on the South Korean Cheonan warship in March.

Pyongyang said it would continue efforts for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a peace treaty with South Korea by returning to the long-stalled six-party talks, while noting it was “satisfied” with the UN statement.

Analysts said the North Korean response suggested that it might be seeking a way to distance itself from international condemnation surrounding the sinking of the Cheonan so that it can concentrate on improving its economy and implementing steps for the potential transfer of power from Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader, to his son.

The response from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry came a day after the UN Security Council said in its presidential statement that it “deplores” and “condemns” those responsible for the March 26 attack on the Cheonan warship, which left 46 naval soldiers dead. The statement mentioned the result of South Korea’s investigation that concluded the North was behind the attack, a charge Pyongyang has vehemently denied, but did not directly name North Korea as the guilty party. The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that the “Security Council didn’t adopt any resolution and made a presidential statement that didn’t include any conclusion.”

The ministry noted a clause in the statement calling for “peaceful means to resume direct dialogue and negotiation through appropriate channels.”

“We will continue to make consistent efforts to sign the peace treaty and achieve denuclearization through the six-party talks,” said a ministry spokesman. The official particularly highlighted another clause in the statement that addressed Pyongyang’s side of the story, which said the council “takes note of the response from other relevant parties, including from the DPRK [North Korea], which has stated it had nothing to do with the incident.”


By Jung Ha-won [hawon@joongang.co.kr]

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