China must apply pressure to N. Korea
The U.S. has been joined by other countries in denouncing the missile launch.
INTERNATIONAL condemnation of North Korea's launching of missiles this week was swift, but did not result in the strong United Nations response that some members had wanted. However, it should create the pressure needed to force Pyongyang to suspend its weapons program.
Russia and China indicated they would use their veto power as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council to block the "stern measures," including possible economic sanctions, proposed by Japan. However, they were amenable to a nonbinding statement deploring the missile test.
Japan and South Korea imposed their own sanctions: Tokyo suspended charter flights between Japan and North Korea and halted for six months the weekly ferry service that has been the only scheduled passenger and trade link between the two countries. Seoul said it would withhold 500,000 tons of rice and 100,000 tons of fertilizer that the North had sought this year.
Japan, supported by the United States and Britain, proposed that the Security Council demand that nations withhold all funds, material and technology that could be used for North Korea's missile program.
China expressed "serious concern" and Russia's foreign ministry summoned North Korea's ambassador in Moscow in protest of the launchings. However, the longtime Pyongyang allies preferred a nonbinding statement by the United Nations instead of a resolution with punitive measures.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia's U.N. ambassador, said the Security Council should focus instead on resumption of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. The North has boycotted the talks with the United States, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia since September because of American efforts to close down banks it uses overseas.
In the absence of a Security Council resolution, China and Russia should be obliged to bring North Korea back to the table and to use leverage on Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons and missile programs in exchange for economic assistance.
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