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U.S., Russia Welcome North Korea Resolution

(RFE/RL) NEW YORK, October 15, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The United States and Russia have welcomed the UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea over its declared nuclear test.

U.S. President George W. Bush said the resolution sent a "swift and tough" message to North Korea that the United Nations is determined "to see to it that the Korean Peninsula is nuclear weapons-free."

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said the resolution was aimed at persuading North Korea to reconsider its dangerous nuclear course and return to six-country negotiations with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.

In response to Russian and Chinese concerns, the measure specifically excludes the use of military force to compel North Korea to comply with UN demands.

The binding resolution imposes an international embargo on deliveries of offensive weapons such as tanks, warships, combat aircraft, and missiles to North Korea. It also calls on all countries to carry out cargo inspections to prevent any illegal trafficking to the North.

The British ambassador to the UN, Emyr Jones-Parry, described the measures as "robust" but sought to make clear that the sanctions are not targeted against the North Korean people, who he said "are already suffering."

Among other measures, the resolution calls on countries to freeze the assets and ban travel for anyone engaged in supporting North Korea's weapons programs.

North Korea's ambassador to the UN, Pak Gil Yon, walked out in the middle of the Security Council session. Immediately after the resolution was adopted, the North Korean diplomat denounced it as unjustified and warned the United States against increasing pressure on the North, saying Pyongyang "will continue to take physical countermeasures, considering it a declaration of war."

Though the resolution was unanimously backed by the Security Council, it appears that practical enforcement of it could be a tricky matter.

China's UN ambassador, Wang Guangya, said, for example, that China does not intend to increase inspections of cargo going in and out of North Korea, although it is called upon to do so by the resolution.

He said China fears inspections could "lead to negative consequences" and called for any inspections to be exercised "with great care."

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