JAPAN PUSHES FOR SANCTIONS ON N. KOREA
By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer
July 7, 2006
UNITED NATIONS - Over Chinese
and Russian objections, Japan introduced a draft Security Council resolution Friday that would impose sanctions on North Korea for its series of rocket test-launches and also order a halt
to its development of ballistic missiles.
Backed by the United States, Britain and France, the resolution condemns the series of missile launches
that the North conducted Wednesday after both its enemies and allies around the world warned it not to.
By putting forth the resolution,
Japan risked a showdown with China
and Russia, which have said they oppose
sanctions or even passing a legally binding resolution on the issue. They want a more mild council statement that would chastize
the North for the launches, and go no further.
"If this resolution is put
to a vote, definitely there will be no unity in the Security Council," China's
U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said. He refused to say, however, if China
would use its veto to sink the resolution or abstain.
Japan's Ambassador Kenzo Oshima said he wanted a vote on the draft Saturday if possible, yet he and other diplomats said
negotiations continued on the resolution.
That raised the possibility
that the decision to introduce the resolution was, in part, a negotiating tactic meant to win concessions from China and Russia.
Diplomats and U.S. officials also left the door open for more talks. One
senior U.S. official said it was unlikely that the draft would be voted
on over the weekend, because diplomats want to give China, the North's
main ally, time to talk to Pyongyang.
Chinese officials said a
delegation would go to Pyongyang early next week to discuss
"There is a hint that states
want to see what the Chinese can do," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the strategy had not been
Korea set off an international
furor Wednesday when it tested seven missiles, all of which landed in the Sea of Japan without
causing any damage. The blasts apparently included a long-range Taepodong-2 — potentially capable of hitting the western
United States. It broke up less than a
minute after takeoff.
The draft introduced Friday
was tougher than previous versions.
It would bar nations from
procuring missiles or missile related "items, materials goods and technology" from North Korea, or transferring financial resources connected to the North's program.
The North would also be barred from acquiring items that could be used to build missiles.
China and Russia
fear that Security Council sanctions risk isolating North Korea
further and spoiling any chance of resuming six-party talks on its nuclear program. Pyongyang
has said sanctions from the Security Council would be tantamount to a declaration of war.
They could veto or abstain
on the resolution. But even abstentions from the two nations risks weakening the message to North Korea, which leaders from around the world, including President Bush, don't want to do.
"What matters most of all
is for Kim Jong Il to see the world speak with one voice," Bush said at a news conference in Chicago, referring to the North Korean leader. "That's the purpose, really."
One possible compromise
would be for Japan to strip out the sanctions
from the resolution, as long as the draft retains a condemnation and the order for the North to stop developing and testing
ballistic missiles. It would also still be written under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which means it could be enforced militarily.
The draft followed a flurry
of meetings among diplomats in New York. Japanese officials
back home have also met with their counterparts from several nations to raise support for the draft.
Oshima said Japan was not willing to give up on Chapter 7 or the sanctions.
"It contains all elements
that we believe are necessary at this point that a firm resolution of the council should contain," Oshima said. "We hope that
it will be adopted when it is put to a vote with the broad unanimity of the council."