VARIOUS: North Korea lashes out at Japan for imposing sanctions after it test-fired missiles this week, United...
- Title: VARIOUS: North Korea lashes out at Japan for imposing sanctions after it test-fired missiles this week, United States says even China considers the launch a provocative act
- Date: 7th July 2006
- Summary: (ASIA) UNDISCLOSED LOCATION, NORTH KOREA (FILE) (KRT) VARIOUS: OF MISSILE (3 SHOTS)
- Reuters ID: LVA7WBL188QH7E1ZS09PCCP8ZYNQ
- Duration: 00:00:12
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: Defence / Military
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: North Korea lashed out at Japan on Friday (July 7) for imposing sanctions after it test-fired missiles this week, but the United States said even China, the communist state's closest ally, considered the launch a provocative act.
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 the tests were provocative.
"Our Chinese interlocutors were very clear in their views of North Korean missile launches, very clear that they have no interest in seeing this happen and that they do not regard this in any way positively. 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.
"It was clear that this was quite a provocation. They tried to, there was really frankly a barrage of missiles and I think no one is offering them any concessions," added Hill.
Japan's chief envoy for talks on North Korea's nuclear arms programmes, Kenichiro Sasae met with China's counterpart Wu Dawei on Friday.
Sasae asked his Chinese counterpart to cooperate in responding to North Korea's missile tests at the U.N. Security Council and to help bring North Korea back to the negotiating table.
"I think we basically agreed on the serious implications of this North Korea missile shooting. And we had talked on how to proceed on the UN Security Council, including the possible resolution condemning North Korea. And also how to address issue of reconvening six-party talks. And, we had discussed on what to do to get North Korea come back to the six-party talks", he said.
Defying near-universal condemnation of its latest firings, North Korea has vowed to carry out more launches and has said it will use force if the international community tries to stop it.
Pyongyang and Tokyo on Friday (July 7) exchanged tough words over the recent missile launches and the abduction issue.
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.
Meanwhile, South Korea turned down a North Korean request to hold military talks, saying it would not be appropriate now to have the discussions, a Defence Ministry official said on Friday.
It however announced it would hold ministerial talks with the North as scheduled next week, the first high-level contact with Pyongyang since the tests.
North Korea made the offer to hold the talks this week, before launching the series of missiles.
"We have decided to delay general-level military talks with North Korea on July 7 at 10 a.m. at the Northern side of Panmunjom, Tongil-gak due to North Korea's missile launch," Colonel Moon Sung-mook of the Defence Ministry's Department of North Korean Policy told reporters at a briefing at the ministry's headquarters in Seoul.
The military talks were aimed at reducing military tensions between the two Koreas, which technically remain at war.
Colonel Moon also said South Korea would notify the North of a date for military talks at an appropriate time.
"We expressed our strong regret over North Korea's execution of the missile launch while they had requested us for talks and we said we would contact them on the date of the talks at an appropriate time," he said.
South Korean officials have said they will have to reconsider cooperation with the North after Pyongyang shot off the missiles earlier this week.
North Korea launched at least six missiles on Wednesday (June 5), including a long-range Taepodong-2, a move the United States called provocative and in defiance of the international community.
The Taepodong-2, a multi-stage missile that might be able to reach Alaska, apparently failed 40 seconds into its flight, U.S. officials said.
Despite a South Korean Unification Ministry official statement saying that extending food aid to the North would be "difficult under current circumstances," 5,000 tonnes of urea fertiliser were loaded onto a ship at South Korea's southeastern port of Ulsan on Thursday (July 6)to send to the North.
The ship is due to leave on Friday (July 7) afternoon to North Korea's Heungnam port, an official at the Ulsan Regional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Office said.
The fertiliser was part of the second half of South Korea's plans to ship 20,000 tonnes of fertiliser to North Korea for 2006. The official added that workers began loading the fertiliser onto the ship since Monday (July 3).
Seoul had been reluctant to tie aid to Pyongyang's behaviour, saying its assistance was separate from international efforts to ease tensions arising from the North's drive to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
Pyongyang relies on the South to provide food to help feed its people. It has asked for 500,000 tonnes of rice from the South this year.
South Korea's stance against the North angered conservative citizens, who said the government was too soft on its criticism against the North for launching missiles and that humanitarian assistance should not be provided at this time.
About a dozen anti-North Korean protesters gathered behind the main governmental headquarters in Seoul and tried to burn pictures of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Riot police sprayed extinguishers to prevent the protesters from burning the pictures, causing light scuffles with the demonstrators.
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- Embargoed:22nd July 2006 13:00