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North Korea Says Launch Justified by March Convention Signing, But Did They Register?

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

UNITED NATIONS, April 7 -- When North Korean diplomat Pak Tok Hun passed by the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Inner City Press asked, "Have you registered with the Secretary General, under the Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space?" North Korea joined this 1974 Convention only last month, in a little noticed ceremony between Tok Hun and the chief of the UN Treaty Section, Annebeth Rosenboom, as Inner City Press reported exclusively on April 6.

   The Convention, which Inner City Press put online here, provided in Article II that "the launching State shall register the space object by means of an entry in an appropriate registry which it shall maintain. Each launching State shall inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations."

  Pak Tok Hun on April 7, days after the launch, appeared unsure if the registration had been made. Finally he said, "I think we did it. We had already made it clear, we launch that. We acceded to the appropriate international conventions of that. We did that before we did it," the launch. Click here for Quick Time (BlackBerry-filmed) video, from 0:50 to 1:16.

  Later on Tuesday, Pak Tok Hun appeared a second time before the Press, in front of Conference Room 4 in the UN's basement. Inner City Press asked him about the two American journalists who are being held, some say as human shields, by North Korea. Pak Tok Hun again paused, and then said that he believes that is "under investigation."

At UN, Japan's Takasu surrounded by media, DPRK registration not shown

  Moments before, in the same location, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was asked if, as a South Korea, he is" in a better position to negotiate this North Korean crisis." Ban replied that, "I believe that my experience as the former South Korean Foreign Minister will be useful whenever it comes to my mandate, whenever I have to deal with this directly, personally, on this issue.  But at this time, as the Security Council is discussing this matter."

  Well, sort of. The planned meeting of the Permanent Five member and Japan, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, was cancelled.

  As Inner City Press has reported, 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 becomes significant. But what about the registration? Watch this site.

  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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