Enforcing N. Korea sanctions looks tough - East Valley Tribune: Nation / World

Enforcing N. Korea sanctions looks tough

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Posted: Sunday, October 15, 2006 8:57 am | Updated: 3:25 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

SEOUL, South Korea - The approval of U.N. Security Council sanctions against North Korea was unanimous, but sharp divisions remained Sunday over how to carry out the punishment leveled for the North's purported nuclear test.

One of the biggest differences was over inspecting cargo to and from North Korea to prevent trafficking in certain heavy weapons, nuclear technology and ballistic missiles.

The final resolution was softened and did not mandate searches, and China - the North's closest ally and largest trading partner - said it would not carry out any inspections.

"China signed on to this resolution. It voted for this resolution. ... And so I'm quite certain that China is going to live up to its responsibilities," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday in response.

Japan and Australia promised to enforce the sanctions immediately and said they were considering harsher penalties on their own. South Korea, which has taken a conciliatory approach to the North and provided its neighbor with aid, also pledged to implement the measures but did not say how.

The U.S.-sponsored resolution demands North Korea eliminate nuclear weapons but expressly rules out military action against the country, on the demand of the Russians and Chinese.

The resolution orders all countries to prevent North Korea from importing or exporting any material for unconventional weapons or ballistic missiles. It orders nations to freeze assets of people or businesses connected to these programs, and ban the individuals from traveling.

North Korea immediately rejected the resolution, and its U.N. ambassador walked out of the council chamber after accusing its members of a "gangster-like" action which neglects the nuclear threat posed by the United States.

On Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton - speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" - warned North Korea to end its nuclear program.

The United States will "ratchet up the pressure, make it clear that their international isolation is only going to increase and we're going to make it, to the extent we can, impossible for them to continue the program," Bolton said.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer welcomed the U.N. resolution Sunday as "surprisingly tough" and said his country was considering stronger measures of its own.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan was also considering additional sanctions against North Korea, following its move Friday to ban trade with the North and close its ports to North Korean ships.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Japan could support U.S. forces inspecting cargo in an out of the North, though he did not give details, Kyodo News Agency reported.

China is uncomfortable with the possibility of the U.S. interdicting ships near its coasts, though Bolton has said he expects most inspections would be performed at ports.

The U.S. ambassador said North Korea's apparent nuclear test "had to have been humiliating to China. After all of the efforts they've made over the years to protect North Korea from international approbation, for the North Koreans in the face of all that to test had to get quite a reaction in Beijing. And I think we're still seeing that play out."

China reiterated it would not conduct any inspections and called for caution.

"China strongly urges the countries concerned to adopt a prudent and responsible attitude in this regard and refrain from taking any provocative steps that may intensify the tensions," China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said.

The Security Council condemned the nuclear test that North Korea said it conducted Oct. 9. It demanded that North Korea immediately return to six-nation talks aimed at persuading Pyongyang to dismantle its weapons program without precondition.

On Sunday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said China hoped the resolution would lead to a peaceful resolution.

"We call for relevant parties to be restrained and calm, adopt a cautious and responsible attitude to prevent the situation from worsening and break the stalemate as soon as possible so that process of the six-party talks can resume," Liu said in a statement on the foreign ministry's Web site.

South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, indicated the sanctions would not affect a tourism venture and a joint industrial complex in the North, saying the "projects have nothing to do with the weapons of mass destruction program."

Critics have urged the South Korean government to halt the two projects, saying that funds may be diverted for the North's nuclear weapons program.

Bolton told reporters Saturday the next step is to start working on implementing the resolution.

"Hopefully on saner reflections perhaps they'll begin to accept that if they don't change course, the only future for them is continued isolation," he said.

In a measure aimed at North Korea's tiny elite, the resolution also bans the sale of luxury goods to the country. The North's reclusive leader, Kim Jong Il, is known for his love of cognac and lobster and collection of thousands of bottles of vintage French wine.

To meet Russian and Chinese concerns, the Americans eliminated a complete ban on the sale of conventional weapons. Instead, the resolution limits the embargo to major hardware such as tanks, warships, combat aircraft and missiles.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev, who visited North Korea last week, arrived in South Korea on Sunday.

He said North Korean officials expressed their commitment to denuclearization and that Moscow and Seoul pledged to try reviving stalled international arms talks.

Alexeyev met with South Korea's top nuclear negotiator, Chun Yung-woo, and said that "we both agreed we should work for a diplomatic solution, that the six-party process should be revived."

The chief U.S. envoy to the six-nation talks, Christopher Hill, will visit Japan on Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said.

Pyongyang has boycotted the six-nation talks for the past 13 months to protest financial measures imposed by Washington for alleged counterfeiting and money-laundering.

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