Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Security Council Stakeout, on the Presidential Statement Condemning the Attack on the Cheonan

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
July 9, 2010


Ambassador Rice: Good morning everybody. The United States welcomes the United Nations Security Council unanimous agreement today on a Presidential Statement, which clearly condemns the attack on the South Korean ship, the Cheonan, and deplores the loss of 46 South Korean sailors who were killed in the attack. The Security Council expressed its support and sympathies and condolences to the South Korean people, government and families who lost innocent lives.

This Security Council Presidential Statement demonstrates a strong international consensus condemning this attack and is the result of close cooperation among Council members and with South Korea. It underscores the Security Council’s strong commitment to maintain peace and security on the Korean peninsula.

The message to North Korean leadership is crystal clear: the Security Council condemns and deplores this attack; it warns against any further attacks; and insists on full adherence to the Korean Armistice Agreement.

The Council’s Statement commends the Republic of Korea for its extraordinary restraint, and underscores the findings and good work of the Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group, which was led by South Korea and supported by experts from Australia, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Joint Investigation Group methodically examined the evidence, including recovered torpedo parts, and reviewed information in an objective effort to determine the cause and the responsibility for the incident. The investigative team concluded that the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine. This conclusion is reflected in the Council’s statement of deep concern.

The Council’s statement also sets a path for North Korea to defuse tensions by complying with the international law, the Armistice Agreement, and the UN Charter. It encourages the settlement of outstanding issues through peaceful means. We have worked throughout with South Korea and Japan closely in this process. The United States fully supports our ally South Korea, and today you have seen the international community stand with South Korea in the face of this attack and determined to prevent any future threats to peace and security on the Korean peninsula. Happy to take a couple of questions.

Reporter: Ambassador Rice what sort of—the appropriate measures that you talked about in the PRST’s mention of peaceful and appropriate measures, such as what?

Ambassador Rice: Clearly there have been a great deal of concern expressed by countries in the region, by now today, the international community about the lead up to this attack. And this statement is clear that it seeks to resolve outstanding issues through diplomatic means. There are various vehicles through which that might be accomplished but the Council today underscored that there ought to be no further attacks against the Republic of Korea or in the region and that the outstanding issues need to be resolved diplomatically.

Reporter: Ambassador Rice the statement doesn’t seem to condemn North Korea directly, it’s a little unclear why that’s a forceful message and what’s the point since you’re not condemning them for attacking.

Ambassador Rice: Our view is that the message to North Korea is in fact quite clear. The Security Council condemns the attack. It warns against any further attacks against the Republic of Korea, and it calls for full adherence to the Korean armistice agreement. This statement is notable, and I think is clear because in the first instance, it uses the term attack repeatedly, which I, you don’t have to be a scholar of the English language to understand is not a neutral term. Secondly, it makes it clear in its relevant treatment of the joint investigative group report and other inputs, how it views the relative merits, and therefore condemns the attack. And further calls for, warns against, any additional future attacks against the Republic of Korea or any other hostile actions in the region. We think in the aggregate, the message is clear and is unmistakable.

Reporter: There is a report coming out of North Korea today that stated an American that was being held in prison, he’s been held since January, attempted suicide. He was apparently teaching English in South Korea. Is this in any way a response to the PRST ruling? What’s the U.S. reaction to this?

Ambassador Rice: I don’t see them as related incidents and I’d refer you to the State Department for comment on consular matters.

Thank you.


Following is the text of the Presidential Statement:

“The Security Council notes the letter dated 4 June 2010 from the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2010/281), and the letter dated 8 June 2010 from the Permanent Representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council (S/2010/294).

The Security Council deplores the attack on 26 March 2010 which led to the sinking of the ROK naval ship, the Cheonan, resulting in the tragic loss of 46 lives.

The Security Council determines that such an incident endangers peace and security in the region and beyond.

The Security Council deplores the loss of life and injuries and expresses its deep sympathy and condolences to the victims and their families and to the people and Government of the ROK, and calls for appropriate and peaceful measures to be taken against those responsible for the incident aimed at the peaceful settlement of the issue in accordance with the UN Charter and all other relevant provisions of international law.

In view of the findings of the Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group led by the ROK with the participation of five nations, which concluded that the DPRK was responsible for sinking the Cheonan, the Security Council expresses its deep concern.

The Security Council takes note of the responses from other relevant parties, including from the DPRK, which has stated that it had nothing to do with the incident.

Therefore, the Security Council condemns the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan.

The Security Council underscores the importance of preventing further such attacks or hostilities against the ROK or in the region.

The Security Council welcomes the restraint shown by the ROK and stresses the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and in north-east Asia as a whole.

The Security Council calls for full adherence to the Korean Armistice Agreement and encourages the settlement of outstanding issues on the Korean peninsula by peaceful means to resume direct dialogue and negotiation through appropriate channels as early as possible, with a view to avoiding conflicts and averting escalation.

The Security Council reaffirms the importance that all Member States uphold the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

PRN: 2010/139