Accessibility links

Japan Still Pushing for North Korea Sanctions at UN

Japan says it will continue to press the United Nations Security Council to approve sanctions against North Korea, although Tokyo's campaign is drawing criticism from Asian nations.

Japan's Foreign Ministry spokesman (Tomohiko Taniguchi) said today (Tuesday) Tokyo will wait a day or two before going forward with its demand for punitive action against North Korea for test-firing seven missiles last week.

The U.N. Security Council delayed a vote on sanctions Monday to allow more time for diplomacy.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman (Jiang Yu) says Japan is overreacting to the (July 5th) missile tests. She says sanctions will undermine regional security and create divisions among Security Council members.

And Chinese President Hu Xintao told a visiting North Korean delegation today that China opposes any action that could aggravate tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Xinhua news agency says Mr. Hu's comment came during a meeting with Yang Hyong Sop, the vice president of North Korea's parliament.

A senior U.S. diplomat who has been meeting with Asian leaders is back in Beijing for the second time this week today. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill says negotiations over Pyongyang's missiles and its nuclear program have reached a crucial stage.

Instead of sanctions, China is suggesting a non-binding U.N. Security Council statement that would criticize North Korea for its missile tests.

Chinese officials are currently in Pyongyang trying to persuade North Korea to return to the nuclear talks, which have been stalled for months.

The outcry over the missile launches has sparked a debate in Tokyo over whether pre-emptive strikes against Pyongyang would violate Japan's pacifist constitution.

South Korea denounced such talk as reckless and said Tokyo risks intensifying the North Korean crisis. A presidential spokesman in Seoul (Jung Tae-ho) contends Japan is taking advantage of the outcry over the missile tests to further its own military ambitions.