UNSC fails to reach agreement on Korean crisis, Russia pursues UN mediation

10:13, December 20, 2010      

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U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, speaks following an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council regarding tensions on the Korean Peninsula at the UN Headquarters in New York December 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters)


The UN Security Council on Sunday failed to reach a consensus on the mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula after eight hours of closed-door consultations.

The gap in the 15-nation Council is "unlikely to be bridged," Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters here.

"While we still are waiting for firm clear instructions from every capital, I think it's safe to predict that the gaps that remain are unlikely to be bridged," Rice said.

Earlier, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that he was still seeking an agreement on his proposal that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon immediately send a special representative to Seoul and Pyongyang for consultations on how to settle the current crisis 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. "Because now we have a situation of very serious political tension and no game plan on the diplomatic side."

South Korea insists it will go ahead with a live-fire drill on Monday from a western border island, Yeonpyeong Island, which was left with four deaths during artillery shelling exchanges last month between the two Koreas.

Churkin, who called the emergency meeting, said "we were not successful in bridging all the gaps."

He regretted that the council did not meet on Saturday, saying it would be better if South Korea did not carry out the military exercise at present time.

Meanwhile, tensions on the Peninsula are escalating, as South Korea said it would conduct a live-fire drill Monday from Yeonpyeong island.

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

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

The DPRK, saying its recent shelling was for its self-defense, railed against the planned firing exercise and warned of further "self-defensive blows."

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

Representatives from the Armistice Commission and the United Nations Command are expected to watch the drill, according to local reports.


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