UN powers yesterday moved closer to slapping sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear test after Washington, responding to China's concerns, proposed a resolution that specifically rules out military force.
"I don't want to say we've reached agreement yet, but many, many of the significant differences have been closed, very much to our satisfaction," US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton told reporters.
North Korea has said it would consider tough UN measures as tantamount to a declaration of war and remained unrepentant in the face of widespread international condemnation.
Washington's "hostile policy toward the DPRK has gone beyond the tolerance limit and a dangerous atmosphere of confrontation reminiscent of that on the eve of war is now prevailing on the Korean Peninsula," its state news agency, KCNA, said.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the North's official name.
As the UN Security Council neared agreement on steps hitting North Korea's nuclear and missile programs with economic and weapons sanctions and a ban on luxury goods, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun held talks in Beijing with Chinese leaders on their isolated and defiant neighbor.
"Both leaders supported the UN Security Council taking necessary and appropriate measures," Song Min-soon, a South Korean national security adviser, told reporters, without specifying what those measures should be.
South Korea's nuclear envoy Chun Young-woo said that North Korea would feel deep pain from UN sanctions for going forward with its reported nuclear test over international objections, but hoped that would lead to eventual dialogue with the communist regime.
China and South Korea have more sway over Pyongyang than any other countries, but the North's announcement on Monday that it had conducted a nuclear test has shaken their policies of political and economic engagement.
HREF="/news/2006/10/14/story/2003331714/">Japanese Cabinet bans all imports from North Korea