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S. Korea cites progress in U.N. debate on N. Korea's rocket launch

All Headlines 15:24 January 10, 2013

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and other U.N. Security Council members have made "significant progress" in their discussions on possible actions against North Korea's recent rocket launch, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday, although it remains uncertain whether such actions include new sanctions.

The Security Council condemned North Korea's Dec. 12 rocket launch as a breach of U.N. resolutions, but efforts by South Korea and the U.S. to push for fresh U.N. sanctions against the North have been unsuccessful because of resistance from China.

Seoul's foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young made the remarks a day after a senior Seoul diplomat told reporters that South Korea is making a fresh push at the Security Council to get it to take action against the North's launch by the end of this month, or before it assumes the rotating presidency of the council.

Cho said, however, that South Korea will not tie itself down to a deadline or a specific timeframe.

"It has been almost a month since North Korea launched a long-range missile and there have been many discussions," Cho said.

"Discussions are under way among member states, particularly permanent members, of the Security Council, and I cannot tell you that a conclusion would be made within one or two weeks, but I can tell you that there has been significant progress," Cho said.

South Korea started a two-year term on the Security Council this month and is scheduled to assume the role of the president of the world body from February.

On Wednesday, the Seoul diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that, "Our top priority is to wrap up the U.N. discussions by the end of this month because no council members would want to discuss the issue from next month when our country assumes the presidency of the council."

China, a key ally of North Korea and one of the veto-wielding council members, has said any Security Council response to the North's rocket launch should be "prudent."

Asked about China's resistance against imposing new sanctions on North Korea, Cho sidestepped the question, saying South Korea "will continue making efforts toward the best possible outcome."

kdh@yna.co.kr
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