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Video: US UN Ambassador Susan Rice on the North Korean Launch

Here is a transcript of her remarks:

Ambassador Rice: Good evening, the Council as you know met in an emergency session today and we heard from members a very uniform– and strong statements of– concern about the implications of this action for peace and security internationally, as well as in the region. The United States expressed its strong view that the launch yesterday constituted a clear cut violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1718, and it is our view that this action merits a clear and strong response from the United Nations Security Council. We will be embarked on additional consultations with partners in the Security Council as well as allies and concerned parties outside of the Security Council towards obtaining that kind of outcome. Thank you.

Reporter: Ambassador, what is a clear and strong response? Tightening sanctions – a different type of resolution that would tighten sanctions or a statement on behalf of the entire Council of concern?

Ambassador Rice: Well, we need to see where we come out, that’s the purpose of the consultations that will continue tonight and in the coming days. But, the United States view is that the most appropriate response to an action of this gravity would be a Security Council resolution.

Reporter: Did China and Russia agree that this is a violation?

Ambassador Rice: Members expressed varying views on that topic. Almost everybody expressed real concern. And we will now begin a process in which we articulate with more specificity how we characterize the nature of the concern. I don’t want to speak for anyone else.

Reporter: Is there a need for technical assessment to see if this is clearly a violation to see if the Council can speak with one voice?

Ambassador Rice: We don’t think so. We think that what was launched is not the issue. The fact that there was a launch using ballistic missile technology is itself a clear violation of UNSCR 1718, which prohibited missile related activity and called on the DPRK to halt further missile related activity. So we have certainty shared with our colleague in the Council our current best assessment of what transpired, other members did, perhaps we will hear from others and garner additional information in the coming days. But frankly, that is not as important as the fact that what occurred, the fact of the launch, was indeed in itself a clear cut violation of 1718 given the language of that resolution.

So– Rice indicates that the appropriate response will be a Security Council resolution. But how much teeth can possibly be in that resolution? Moreover, she curiously noted that “we will now begin a process in which we articulate with more specificity how we characterize the nature of the concern.” In other words, we have to see how much agreement we can get out of the five permanent members.

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Welcome! Who am I?

Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.