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Russia Calls Japanese Draft On North Korea 'Unacceptable'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (epa) July 12, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Japan's draft UN resolution in response to North Korea's missile tests is "unacceptable."

Russia has condemned Pyongyang's decision to test fire missiles earlier this month, but argues against imposing sanctions on North Korea. Its position is shared by China, like Russia a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council.

Japan, backed by the United States and Britain, had pushed for a tough UN resolution seeking sanctions related to North Korea's missile technology, but on July 10 the United States and Japan called off a vote on the draft resolution.

Lavrov today said the UN resolution must be "tough, but not brimming over with emotions" and should not contain threats.

He said Japan's insistence that all countries should back the draft and its warning that, if they do not do so, they could face unspecified "negative consequences" were "absolutely unacceptable."

Earlier on July 12, U.S. envoy Christopher Hill today called North Korea's response to Chinese diplomacy "discouraging," saying there is no sign that North Korea will return to six-party talks about its nuclear program.

Hill was speaking in Beijing after discussing recent missile tests by North Korea and the country's nuclear program with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

The U.S. envoy said China and the U.S. share a "sense of common purpose" on North Korea and that the country risks international isolation.

Hill also ruled out bilateral talks with North Korea.

(Reuters, ITAR-TASS, dpa)