Sun, Apr 12, 2009 - Page 5 News List

Japan to scrap plan for a North Korea resolution

NON-BINDING: Kyodo news said Tokyo would accept a weaker statement proposed by the US to break the Pyongyang stalemate with Beijing

REUTERS , TOKYO

Japan is expected to withdraw a proposal for the UN Security Council to adopt a binding resolution on North Korea’s rocket launch, Kyodo news agency reported, a day after Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso appeared to back off from insistence on a resolution.

Instead, Tokyo is expected to eventually accept a weaker draft presidential statement the US has circulated to the permanent council members and Japan to break the stalemate between Tokyo and Beijing, Kyodo said, citing diplomatic sources.

Japan was to notify the five permanent members — the US, Britain, France, Russia and China — of the plan when they resumed talks yesterday, Kyodo reported.

But Japanese Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said yesterday he had told his Chinese counterpart Japan still favored passing a resolution.

“As far as we are concerned, a resolution is desirable,” Nakasone told reporters in Pattaya, Thailand.

He said he had conveyed the message by telephone yesterday to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (楊潔箎), who is also in Pattaya for an Asian summit.

“If we are to have a strong, unified message from the international community, a resolution is desirable,” Nakasone said.

A trilateral meeting between Nakasone, Yang and South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan on the sidelines of the summit in Thailand had to be called off yesterday after demonstrators blocked the entrance to the venue.

Japan on Friday extended economic sanctions on North Korea by a year to punish it for what was widely seen as a long-range missile test, and it has called for a legally binding resolution by the UN Security Council to declare Pyongyang in violation of a previous resolution banning the firing of ballistic missiles.

But Russia and China have opposed the move, unconvinced the launch was a violation.

After days of deadlock, diplomats said Japan’s close ally Washington had indicated it might be willing to accept a nonbinding statement rather than a resolution.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, in an interview with a Thai newspaper published yesterday, urged the UN Security Council to act quickly.

“I hope that the UN Security Council member states can agree on a response to the North’s rocket launch within two to three days,” he told the Nation.

“North Korea’s rocket launch came amid its ongoing ambition to develop nuclear weapons, adding to disturbing concerns around the world. From the perspective of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the North’s launch is raising more fears across the globe,” he said.

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