North Korea turns up the chill

first_imgJapan’s U.N. ambassador, Kenzo Oshima, the current council president, said earlier that all council members “emphasized that the response of the council should be strong, swift and very, very clear in its message and its action.” But just how long it will take members to agree on a resolution remains to be seen. Council experts started discussing the proposals in meetings Monday afternoon and were expected to meet again this morning. But it was unclear whether China and Russia – the North’s closest allies – would support some of the tough measures, which also include international inspection of all cargo to and from North Korea to limit the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and to ban any material that could be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction. Before the experts’ meeting, the ambassadors from the five veto-wielding council nations – the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China – met with Oshima. U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters afterward that everybody agreed within 30 minutes that the council should condemn the action and respond quickly, saying “that’s remarkable” to have such a unanimous decision. But he wouldn’t speculate when the council might act, noting that Japan and others already had other suggestions for the text. “The fact is that in our half-hour, full council meeting this morning, there was no one who even came close to defending this test by North Korea,” Bolton said. The United States, France, Britain and Japan want the resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which deals with threats to international peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression. It allows the council to authorize measures ranging from breaking diplomatic ties and imposing economic and military sanctions to taking military action to restore peace. With U.S. forces strapped by the twin wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration repeatedly has said it has no plans to invade North Korea and discussion of military action was absent Monday. Neither Russia nor China would say whether they support a resolution that could pave the way for sanctions. “I think we have to react firmly,” China’s U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said. “But also I believe that on the other hand the door to solve this issue from a diplomatic point of view is still open.” Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said the North Koreans “will be facing a very serious attitude on the part of the Security Council and the entire international community,” but he said the council needs to discuss whether that will include sanctions. The reported test came one day after the ninth anniversary of reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s accession to power and a day before the 61st anniversary of the ruling North Korean Workers’ Party. AP Television News footage showed North Koreans going about their daily business and there were no signs of heightened alert by security forces in Pyongyang, hours after their government said it performed a nuclear weapons test. The test also coincided with the Security Council vote Monday to nominate South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon to succeed Kofi Annan as the next U.N. secretary-general. The 192-nation General Assembly is expected to approve the recommendation later this month. Ban said one of his priorities, if approved, would be to work to resolve the North Korean crisis. North Korea remained defiant. Pak Gil Yon, the North’s U.N. ambassador, said the Security Council should congratulate the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, known as the DPRK, instead of passing “useless” resolutions or statements. TIGHTENING THE NOOSE The U.N. Security Council is considering a broad range of new sanctions to punish North Korea for its nuclear test. Here is a look at details of the proposals, as well as current sanctions against the North. THE UNITED STATES: The U.S. has a raft of sanctions against North Korea over its roles as a sponsor of terrorism and weapons proliferator. Those sanctions include a ban on export of military items, restrictions on financial transactions and some limits on foreign aid and debt relief. Former U.S. President Clinton lifted even broader diplomatic, travel and trade restrictions in 1999. OTHER NATIONS: Bilateral sanctions from others vary. In 2002, the U.S., Japan and South Korea halted oil supplies to the North promised in a 1994 deal. In September, Japan s Cabinet approved a new set of financial sanctions against North Korea, and Australia imposed similar restrictions. The sanctions ban fund transfers and overseas remittances by groups and individuals suspected of links to North Korean weapons programs. THE UNITED NATIONS: The Security Council has barred nations from trading in material or technology for missiles or weapons of mass destruction with North Korea. A resolution imposing those restrictions was passed July 16, after the North conducted a series of missile tests. POSSIBLE SANCTIONS: After North Korea s nuclear test, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton circulated a range of proposals that would include some of the most punishing restrictions in years. They include: – Prohibiting trade in materials that could be used to make or deliver weapons of mass destruction. – Requiring states to ensure that North Korea not use their territory or entities for proliferation or illicit activities. Financial transactions that North Korea could use to support those programs would also be banned. – States would have to freeze all assets related to North Korea s weapons and missile programs, as well as any other illicit activities it conducts. – Authorize inspection of all cargo to and from North Korea to limit proliferation. – Ban trade with North Korea in luxury goods and military items.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The 15-nation council urged Pyongyang to return to stalled talks, refrain from further tests and keep its pledge to scrap its clandestine weapons program. Bush said the North Korean action “constitutes a threat to international peace and security” and requires “an immediate response” from the Security Council, though he stressed that the U.S. remained committed to diplomacy. The United States circulated a draft U.N. resolution late Monday that would condemn North Korea’s nuclear test and impose tough sanctions on the reclusive communist nation for Pyongyang’s “flagrant disregard” of the Security Council’s appeal not to detonate a device. The draft, obtained by The Associated Press, incorporates proposals circulated by the U.S. earlier in the day to prohibit all trade in military and luxury goods and prevent “any abuses of the international financial system” that could contribute to the transfer or development of banned weapons. It adds new calls from Japan to ban all countries from allowing any North Korean ships in their ports or any North Korean aircraft from taking off or landing in their territory and to impose travel restrictions on high-ranking North Korean officials. The Japanese proposals would also create a Security Council committee to monitor implementation of the sanctions, and ask the secretary-general “to actively engage in this matter.” UNITED NATIONS – The world lined up against North Korea on Monday for staging a nuclear test denounced even by key allies. President George W. Bush called it “a threat to international peace and security,” and the U.N. Security Council weighed severe sanctions to punish the impoverished communist nation. There was no talk of military action. But the Security Council quickly condemned North Korea’s decision to flout a U.N. appeal to cancel the test after the reclusive regime announced it had set off an underground atomic explosion. Russia was the only country to say it had “no doubts” over the North Korean claim. The U.S. and other experts said the explosion was smaller than expected and they had yet to confirm it was nuclear. But the reaction of world governments reflected little doubt that they were treating the announcement as fact. last_img

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