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At UN on Korea, China Agreed to Condemn Nov 23 Shelling, US Blew Up Deal

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 20 -- China would have agreed on December 19 to condemn the shelling on November 23 by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the escalation which took place afterward, numerous UN Security Council sources told Inner City Press on December 20.

The sources describe a moment in which China agreed to language the word “condemn” applied to North Korea's shelling of November 23. They said they expected US Ambassador Susan Rice, president of the Council this month, to immediately gavel to seal the agreement.

Instead they said, Ambassador Rice asked China, “Do you have instructions?” Whereupon China said it would seek to confirm that it could agree. Some surmise that the US was not prepared to agree to this compromise language, introduced by Russia.

Cynics say that the US did not want an agreement.

Similarly, while Russia's Vitaly Churkin said that all 15 Council members want Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint an envoy to the Korean peninsula, and Ambassador Rice did not disagree, it is said that neither South Korea nor Japan are keen on the idea of an envoy at this time, in part because it might be interpreted as “rewarding bad behavior” by the DPRK. Ban is obviously partial to this view.

At the December 20 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq if Ban, based on the public statements of Russia's Churkin and the US' Susan Rice on December 19, is now moving to appoint an envoy to Korea.

Susan Rice, Churkin & rest of P-5, blown up DPRK deal not shown

  Haq replied repeatedly that only if the Council instructs Ban, via a Press Statement, will he do so. At an event on the evening of December 20, several Council diplomats expressed to Inner City Press surprise as Ban's resistance. Watch this site.

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At UN on Korea, 8 Hours Result in No Statement, Calls for Ban Envoy, ROK Exercise

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 19 -- After eight hours of Korea meetings, the UN Security Council was unable to agree to any press statement. Council President Susan Rice said that while “most members” agreed to condemn North Korea for the November 23 island shelling, “consensus was not possible.” This was China, according to numerous Western diplomats.

Russia's Vitaly Churkin against blamed the Council Presidency for denying his request for as Saturday rather than Sunday meeting, saying that would have given more time to reach an agreed statement before the military exercises South Korea has scheduled for Monday.

Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice to respond to Churkin's statement about the denied meeting. She answered that several important Council members had asked for more time. In a seemingly contradictory answer, she said that since nothing had been agreed to since November 23, an extra day would not have made a difference. But why then was “more time” before a Saturday meeting needed?

Both Vitaly Churkin and Susan Rice said that all 15 members want Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to name an envoy to the Korean peninsula. Inner City Press asked Churkin if Ban should wait for a Council statement before doing so, and Churkin said no. One wonders why Ban hasn't already named an envoy.

Susan Rice and UN's Ban, Korea envoy not yet shown

Ban Ki-moon did not come to the Security Council on Sunday. His senior adviser Kim Won-soo and DPA chief Lynn Pascoe both did, but neither spoke to the press. The military exercise might start within hours. We'll see.

Footnote: The Security Council has a full program on Monday, including naming chairs of committees (Inner City Press reported on Friday about the Portugal versus Bosnia fight for the Working Methods committee) and Cote d'Ivoire, where sources tell Inner City Press Ouattara has written to the Council contradicting Laurent Gbagbo's requests for the UN to leave. What a month -- and it's not over. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel 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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