VARIOUS: U.S. President George W. Bush says Washington is focusing on diplomacy with N. Korea while Japan wants...
- Title: VARIOUS: U.S. President George W. Bush says Washington is focusing on diplomacy with N. Korea while Japan wants UN Council vote on N. Korea
- Date: 8th July 2006
- Summary: (W4) UNITED NATIONS (FILE) (AGENCY POOL) REPORTERS
- Reuters ID: LVA2KVARIXBSJHLXN7C8EX68JQHA
- Location: Usa, Korea, Democratic People's Republic of, Japan, China, Korea, Republic of
- Country: Usa Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Japan China Korea, Republic of
- Duration: 00:00:04
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- Topics: Politics
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: President George W. Bush on Friday defended the U.S. approach to dealing with North Korea, saying diplomacy is slow and will take more time, and he sidestepped a question about using military force.
Urged by some foreign policy analysts and politicians for a shift in strategy on North Korea to perhaps include direct talks, Bush said he was "not going to be caught in the trap of sitting at the table alone."
Bush, who previously has said the United States will keep the military option available when it comes to North Korea, carefully refrained from repeating that standard phrase when asked about it during an hour-long news conference.
He said it was time to set "redlines" for North Korea, meaning actions which the international community would not tolerate and would force some kind of action against Pyongyang.
"And now that he has defied China and Japan and South Korea and Russia and the United States -- all of us said, "Don't fire that rocket"; he not only fired one, he fired seven -- now that he made that defiance, it's best for all of us to go to the U.N. Security Council and say, loud and clear, "Here's some red lines," Bush said without further elaboration.
Bush was optimistic the U.N. Security Council would "speak with one voice" to condemn the launches.
The Security Council is divided over sanctions, which are favoured by the United States and Japan and opposed by Russia and China.
Meanwhile, Japan was pushing for a U.N. Security Council vote for Saturday on sanctions against North Korea's missile program, despite opposition from veto-wielding members China and Russia.
Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima, who formally introduced his draft resolution, said on Friday he had asked for a vote for Saturday "if possible" in response to the barrage of missile tests North Korea, which fell into waters near Japan.
Asked if he would use his veto power, China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya said it was possible.
"If this resolution is put to vote, definitely there will be no unity in the Security Council. I think we will study that possibility, all possibilities are open, on the table," said Wang, who could also let the resolution pass by abstaining.
U.S. envoy Christopher Hill, visiting Asia to press Washington's case that Pyongyang must be brought to heel, said in Beijing that there was a consensus that there was a need to re-start the six-party process.
"So, we discussed the way ahead and a need for us to remain very close as we work through this. We discussed a need to get the six-party process going as soon as possible," he said.
North Korea threatened Japan on Friday for imposing sanctions after it test-fired missiles this week, while the United States struggled to get a unified diplomatic response to the launchings.
In one sign of how difficult it has been to get everybody on the same page, South Korea said it would hold ministerial talks with the North as scheduled next week, the first high-level contact with Pyongyang since the tests.
Pyongyang and Tokyo on Friday (July 7) exchanged tough words over the missile launches.
A Pyongyang official told visiting Japanese journalists that bilateral relations between the two countries are at its lowest point.
"Nowadays, relations between Japan and North Korea are worse than the worst. They are plunging into a face-off stage," said Song Il-ho, a Pyongyang envoy in charge of handling issues related to Japan.
The envoy added that relations with Japan is even worse than its ties with the United States.
Song also warned Tokyo that Pyongyang would be ready to take counter measures if it was further pressured by Japan and the United States, which is pressing for United Nations sanctions on North Korea over the recent missile launches.
North Korea has been saying that any imposition of sanctions would be tantamount to war.
Tokyo responded with harsh words on Pyongyang's latest remarks.
"I am feeling indignation about his remark. I ask them to reconsider who was the one who sowed discord between us and created the current tense situation," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told at a regular morning news conference on Friday.
North Korea launched seven missiles on Wednesday, including a long-range Taepodong-2, which some experts had said could hit Alaska. U.S. officials said it flew for less than a minute and fell into the sea west of Japan.
North Korea, however, does not have a second Taepodong-2 missile on a launch site, a U.S. defense official said on Friday, countering reports from South Korea that Pyongyang may have moved the long-range missile into place.
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