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Bush: bilateral talks with North Korea 'just didn't work' (file photo) (epa)
October 12, 2006 -- U.S. diplomats say they will formally submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council today on placing punitive sanctions upon North Korea over its declared nuclear test.
All this past week, the United States has sought to build support for its draft resolution by stressing the need for dealing sternly with Pyongyang.
"With its actions this week, North Korea has once again chosen to reject a prospect for a better future offered by the six-party [United States, China, Russia, Japan, and the two Koreas] joint statement," U.S. President George W. Bush told reporters on October 11. "Instead, it has opted to raise tensions in the region."
Now, Washington is putting its draft resolution to the test. The U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, says the document will be formally submitted to the Security Council today and that he hopes to see it adopted by the end of this week.
Hesitation To Approve Use Of Force
But other nations continue to express reservations over the wording -- even as they agree the Security Council must send a message to Pyongyang.
The main disagreements over the U.S. draft stem from Washington's insistence the resolution be adopted under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
Placing the resolution under Chapter 7 would make North Korea's compliance with the resolution's terms mandatory, and ultimately open the way to military action if Pyongyang resists.
That door to military action worries China and Russia. Both say they want Pyongyang to disarm, but fear for regional stability if the crisis is not solved through negotiations.
"From China's perspective, we are firmly opposed to war as a means to resolve the nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This is our firm position," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said on October 10. in Beijing.
"As for the second question, China has been long dedicated to good-neighborly and friendly relations with [North Korea]," Liu continued. "This remains unchanged. We don't need to deny that the nuclear tests by [North Korea] have a negative impact on our relations with [North Korea], and we hope [North Korea] will give a positive response to the appeal of the international community and honor its commitment to denuclearization and refrain from any act that may worsen the situation."
China is North Korea's main trading partner and Russia, to a lesser extent, also has political and trade ties with Pyongyang.
The U.S. draft resolution calls for a halt to any international trade with North Korea that could include material used in making weapons of mass destruction.
It also would impose international inspections on cargo going in and out of North Korea, and end financial transactions that could be used to support nuclear proliferation.
Now it remains to be seen whether China and Russia will demand modifications of the U.S. draft -- something that could mean days or even weeks more of discussion within the Security Council.
Amid that uncertainty, the EU foreign-policy and security chief Javier Solana on October 11 underlined the need for speedy and firm action. He said the Security Council members must not seek a compromise by merely issuing a statement reprimanding Pyongyang.
"As far as sanctions are concerned, I think the Security Council cannot go just with a statement, with a declaration," Solana said. "The Security Council has to act. Otherwise other countries, which are looking at what the response of the Security Council would be, will make the conclusion that the international community doesn't take seriously an act of this nature."
Pyongyang's declared nuclear test on October 9 has been widely condemned around the world for raising regional tensions.
North Korea says it conducted the test to demonstrate its military capabilities in the face of threats from the United States.
Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's second-highest-ranking official, said on October 11 that Pyongyang would conduct more tests if the United States remains "hostile."