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At UN, N. Korea's Quiet March Joining of Outer Space Convention Now Scrutinized

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, April 6 -- In a little-noticed ceremony last month, North Korean diplomat Pak Tok Hun signed his country onto the UN's Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space. A photograph was taken, of Pak Tok Hun with the chief of the UN Treaty Section, Annebeth Rosenboom. Assession document here. Four weeks later North Korea would launch a Taepodong-2 missile over Japan, triggering Tokyo's request mere minutes later for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.

   As reported in real time by Inner City Press, Japan's request was quickly granted, and an April 5 meeting held. But at the meeting China, Russia and other non-permanent members of the Council argued that North Korea was entitled to use a Taepodong-2 missile to launch what it said was a satellite "into outer space." The little-noticed signing because significant. Why was it not more noticed at the time, including by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon? Several UN member states are asking the question.

Pak Tok Hun and UN's Annebeth Rosenboom at the signing last month, missile not shown

  Meanwhile on Monday in the UN, the Deputy Permanent Representatives of China and Russia were seen shaking hands outside the meeting of the Permanent Five members and Japan. This was seen as making the sanctions resolution requested by Japan less likely.

  The U.S. says it is strongly supporting Japan's request. But diplomats from Sudan and Cuba, among others, are gleefully questioning the U.S.'s commitment to Japan, sources say. They say the U.S. has become more concerned with China, including for business reasons. If the Japanese electorate become more disillusioned with the UN, these sources ask, will the country unquestioning keep up its status as the second larges donor to the UN?

  Click here for a new YouTube video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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