UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope on Monday that the Security Council would take prompt actions against Pyongyang in the wake of a probe that found North Korea had sunk a South Korean warship.
"I am confident that the council, in fulfilling its responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, will take measures appropriate to the gravity of the situation," Ban said at a news conference in New York.
Forty-six sailors died when the 1,200-ton Cheonan corvette sank on the night of March 26 near the disputed Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea after a sudden explosion. A team of international investigators confirmed last Thursday suspicions that the ship was destroyed by a torpedo launched from a North Korean submarine.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said on Sunday his country would take the case of its sunken naval ship to the UN Security Council.
North Korea has reacted angrily to the accusations, saying it would withdraw from the nonaggression pact with South Korea if Seoul continued to accuse Pyongyang of sinking one of its warships.
The two countries remain technically at war as their 1950-1953 conflict ended only in an armistice. Naval clashes between the South and the North over the disputed sea border took place in 1999, 2002 and last year.
The conclusions of the investigation led to a further deterioration of the already sour relations between the two Koreas and have jeopardized international efforts to stop Pyongyang's controversial nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development programs.
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said on Monday that the council's prompt action would also contribute to the early resumption of the six-party talks "to address [Pyongyang's] nuclear issues and other outstanding concerns."
Talks on North Korea's nuclear program, involving Russia, Japan, China, the United States and the two Koreas, stalled in April last year when Pyongyang pulled out of the negotiations in protest at the United Nations' condemnation of its missile tests.
Russia and China, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, called last week for North and South Korea to exercise restraint in reacting to the results of the investigation.
UNITED NATIONS, May 24 (RIA Novosti)