Washington (AFP) Oct 15, 2006
The United States on Sunday played down signs of disagreement among world powers over how UN sanctions should be enforced against North Korea over its declared nuclear test. A day after the UN Security Council voted unanimously to slap weapons and financial sanctions against North Korea, questions loomed about whether the measures would be fully enforced amid reservations from China.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted China would work to enforce the sanctions against North Korea despite Beijing's stated objections to cargo inspections.
"China is signed on to a resolution that pledges cooperation in stopping the proliferation trade with North Korea," Rice told a US television network.
"I'm quite certain that China has no interest in seeing the proliferation of dangerous materials from North Korea," Rice said on the Fox News Sunday program.
Rice, who is due to meet Asian leaders next week to discuss the enforcement of the sanctions, acknowledged that there were "many details to be worked out, particularly about how this embargo and intradiction might work."
The Security Council resolution adopted Saturday seeks to block North Korea from importing items related to its nuclear or other mass-destruction weapons programs, calling for inspections of cargo to and from the Stalinist state.
After the vote, China's UN ambassador, Wang Guangya, said his country did not approve of provisions for inspecting cargo going in and out of North Korea.
"China strongly urges the countries concerned to adopt a prudent and responsible attitude in this regard and refrain from taking any provocative steps that may intensify the tension," Guangya said.
Russia called the negotiations before the vote "tense" and had favored time limits on any sanctions. In a concession, the United States agreed to drop any reference in the resolution to a threat of military force.
While it remained unclear how the sanctions would be carried out, China and other world powers were in agreement in condemning North Korea for its nuclear test, calling it a "clear threat to international peace and security."
The resolution urged Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction in a verifiable manner and return to international negotiations that it has boycotted for nearly a year.
In Seoul, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev said the North Koreans had appeared willing to return to the bargaining table in talks last week.
"The North Korean side several times returned to the point that the six-sided process should continue," said Alexeyev, according to Russian news agencies.
The Russian met Sunday evening with Chun Yung-Woo, South Korea's main nuclear negotiator, who said it was too early to be confident the talks could be revived.
"We have to see how North Korea will respond to the sanctions. After then, we can confidently talk about the diplomatic process," Chun said.
North Korea's UN ambassador Pak Gil Yon angrily rejected the Council action.
"It is gangster-like for the Security Council to have adopted today a coercive resolution," Pak said.
Communist North Korea, one of the world's most impoverished and isolated nations, has repeatedly insisted that it needs nuclear weapons to deter an attack by the United States, which it says wants to topple its regime.
The six-nation talks -- between China, Japan, Russia, North and South Korea, and the US -- appeared to have won agreement from Pyongyang last year to give up its nuclear ambitions.
But the talks fell apart when the North withdrew after Washington imposed sanctions on a Macau bank that it said was laundering money from North Korea, which is believed to be strapped for cash.
Some analysts said a previous round of UN sanctions, imposed after it test-fired seven missiles in July, failed to prevent North Korea from carrying out the declared test and that another test may still be on the way.
"They can probably survive the sanctions being considered at present but a second test would push the international community further to take aggressive action," said John Harrison of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies in Singapore.
The test sparked initial fears of an arms race in Asia, where nations such as South Korea and Japan have overcome traditional differences to find common cause in trying to rein in the Pyongyang regime.
earlier related report
China joined the 14 other members of the UN Security Council on Saturday in voting for broad sanctions designed to force North Korea to give up its nuclear arms and return to six-nation talks on ending the state's isolation.
The sanctions range from a prohibition on exports of luxury products for use by North Korea's ruling elite and a partial arms embargo to travel bans on officials involved in weapons development and financial moves to starve the country's military programs of cash.
But the central measures, pushed hard by the United States and Japan and accepted only reluctantly and in a watered-down form by China and Russia, aim to prevent the cash-strapped North Korean regime from selling a nuclear bomb to terrorists or rogue states.
"The guts of the resolution is to prohibit trade in weapons of mass destruction-related materials," John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nation who led negotiations on the UN move, said Sunday.
Bolton said the measure would primarily involve inspecting North Korean cargo when it reach foreign shores, although he did not rule out risky high-seas search and seizure operations.
China, Pyongyang's main trade partner and which shares a long land border with North Korea, immediately expressed its unwillingness to carry out the kind of invasive inspections Washington says are called for in the resolution.
"Our political position is, we're not in favor of inspections because ... as a general principle we felt that it will lead to negative consequences," said China's UN ambassador, Wang Guangya.
Both Rice and Bolton expressed confidence that China would meet its responsibilities under the resolution, while admitting that delicate negotiations on exactly how to proceed lay ahead during the secretary of state's tour later this week to China, South Korea and Japan.
"The burden is on China to comply with the resolution," Bolton said on CNN Sunday in one of a series of television interviews in which he repeatedly spoke of Beijing's "heavy responsibility" to carry out the mandatory sanctions.
"It will take some work to talk about the implementation of the resolution, that's part of what I will do when I go out to the region on Tuesday," Rice added in an interview on CBS television's Face the Nation program.
"There will be details to work out, there will be differences in emphasis, but the North Koreans now face a united front that will not allow them to continue to pursue their nuclear programs without consequence, and that's an extremely important step," she said.
"I think you're going to find China carrying out its responsibilities."
China and South Korea in particular have expressed deep concerns that aggresively trying to interdict ships and aircraft travelling to or from North Korea could spark a war with the erratic regime of Kim Jong-Il.
North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Pak Gil Yon, fueled such fears this weekend by warning his country would take "physical countermeasures" in response to continued pressure on it.
While insisting Washington will press ahead with inspections of North Korean ships and planes under an informal multinational arrangement called the Proliferation Security Initiative, US officials recognised the need to proceed cautiously.
"We want to have a very serious discussion about how to use this interdiction provision," Rice said.
"This is a powerful tool, but it's also a tool that needs to be used carefully," she said.
Source: Agence France-Presse
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The Next Set Of Challenges Facing North Korea
Seoul (UPI) Oct 13, 2006
After conducting its alleged nuclear weapon test, what will North Korea's next move be? This is the question of the moment, as the defiant communist country has vowed to take "a series of physical countermeasures" if U.S.-led pressure continues.
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