BBC News | Friday, 9 July 2010 | 03:30 GMT
The UN Security Council is considering a draft statement condemning the sinking of a South Korean warship. The draft put forward by the US "deplores the loss of life" on the corvette Cheonan but does not blame North Korea directly for the attack. Instead, it expresses deep concern about the findings of a multinational investigation which found Pyongyang responsible for the sinking. The incident, in March this year, left 46 sailors dead.
The draft statement takes note of North Korea’s insistence that it had nothing to do with the sinking, and stresses the importance of a peaceful settlement of the issue. Western diplomats said China had blocked attempts to condemn North Korea, at least partly to avoid any action from its unpredictable ally that could escalate tensions in the region.
Last month, North Korea’s UN ambassador said his country’s military would respond forcefully to any Security Council criticism. The statement has already been approved by the five permanent members of the Security Council – the United States, China, Britain, France and Russia. It must be now adopted unanimously by the 15-member council, which is expected to reach agreement on Friday afternoon.