U.S., Japan push for vote on North Korea missile launch
UNITED NATIONS – The United States and Japan on Friday insisted that the Security Council vote within one day on a proposed resolution condemning North Korea’s missile tests, despite an apparent deadlock with China and Russia over the document.After a second day of negotiations, Japan circulated a new draft text that sought to bridge the differences with China. But Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya said it contained unacceptable language and threatened to veto the draft.The split, he said, had to do with one key issue: how much authority to give the council if North Korea doesn’t obey demands to halt its missile program.”I think I would be forced to vote in a way which means there would be no action by the council,” he said.The latest draft, obtained by The Associated Press, retains demands that North Korea suspend its ballistic missile program and includes mandatory sanctions, requiring all member states to block it from receiving or selling missile technology.In an apparent attempt to placate China, the draft narrows the legal authority under which the council could act. It does so by essentially erecting another hurdle on the road to the council using military force if North Korea fails to meet the resolution’s demands.Wang told reporters that China could not accept that compromise. With Russia’s support, China has proposed a much weaker text that eliminates any threat of military force, and also drops mandatory sanctions.It calls on Pyongyang to re-establish a moratorium on missile tests and requests – but does not demand – that all U.N. member states “exercise vigilance in preventing” material and technology that could be used in missiles from getting to North Korea.It also calls on all countries not to buy North Korean missiles or technology.U.S. Ambassador John Bolton and Japan’s Ambassador Kenzo Oshima said the council had spent enough time negotiating over the resolution since North Korea launched a flurry of missiles earlier this month and provoking an international outcry.”As far as timing of council action we hope the council will take a decision at the latest by tomorrow,” Oshima said.”There are many, many occasions when the council has to take very difficult decisions and I think this is one of hose very, very difficult decisions.”The Japanese draft is backed by the U.S., Britain, Slovakia, Greece and France. They say the Chinese proposal is too weak.Wang said the most important thing now was for the council to be unanimous, and warned that the world was grappling with so many problems now – references to Iran and violence in the Middle East, as well as Korea – that the new draft would not help.”I think if we want to handle all these crises we need to take a cautious, constructive, firm approach, and there are too many fires there – we don’t need to put oil on all those fires,” he said.The United States and other backers of the Japanese-sponsored resolution had agreed to postpone a vote to give Beijing time to lobby the North. But North Korea appeared to reject diplomatic overtures by a visiting Chinese delegation.