- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 5, 2006

NEW YORK — The United States, Japan, Britain and France yesterday urged the U.N. Security Council to condemn North Korea’s missile tests as a threat to international peace and security, and demanded that Pyongyang “immediately cease the development, testing, deployment and proliferation of ballistic missiles.” China and Russia, two key veto-wielding members of the council, criticized the launches in individual statements, but urged international leaders to not do anything to further destabilize the already tense peninsula. Citing international concern from NATO, the United Nations and world capitals, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday told reporters that Pyongyang had “miscalculated.” “Whatever their motivations, whatever they thought they were doing, they’ve gotten a very strong reaction from the international community,” said Miss Rice, noting that Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill would be meeting with negotiators from other nations in the six-party talks: South Korea, Japan, Russia and China. “That simply demonstrates that the wisdom of the six-party framework is that it is now not a matter of the United States and North Korea; it is really a matter of the region saying to North Korea that it has to change its behavior,” Miss Rice said. North Korea has not yet responded directly to any of the criticisms, nor has it announced the tests to its own people. North Korea, which claims to have produced a small nuclear arsenal, on Tuesday and yesterday test-fired seven ballistic missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2, according to Japanese and South Korean officials. The Taepodong-2 has the potential to reach Alaska and the Northwestern part of the United States. Governments around the world have reacted with alarm to the launches, although there is no indication that any of the missiles was armed with a warhead. But the immediate repercussions were felt in Seoul and Tokyo, where stock markets shuddered with the news. In Moscow yesterday, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Alexeyev called on North Korean Ambassador Pak Ui Chun to voice “serious concern” about the impact of the tests on regional stability. Meanwhile, Chinese and North Korean dignitaries are expected to exchange visits in honor of 45 years of friendly relations, both capitals announced. The missiles are sure to come up in meetings. Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Hui Liangyu, whose government is thought to have the most influence on Pyongyang, is expected to begin a high-level visit Monday, Beijing announced. And Yang Hyong Sop, vice president of the North Korean People’s Assembly will travel to the Chinese capital the same week, the state news agency announced. Indonesia’s special envoy to North Korea, Nana Sutresna, arrived in Pyongyang yesterday on a regularly scheduled visit, but told Agence France-Presse in Jakarta, Indonesia, that he was unsure whether he would be allowed to raise the issue during talks with Korean officials. “We are very concerned and urge for all sides to carry out self-restraint,” the veteran diplomat told Agence France-Presse. Security Council members will take up the matter again today. “No member defended what the North Koreans have done, and I think that the tenor of that discussion shows how little support there is in the international community as a whole for these North Korean missile launches,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton said after yesterday morning’s emergency meeting of the Security Council. He said the council would send a “strong and unanimous signal” that North Korea’s missile test launch was unacceptable. The draft council resolution that Japan circulated yesterday also seeks to halt the transfer of financial resources and dual-use technology and equipment that could aid Pyongyang’s weapons programs. Russia and China are likely to object to punitive measures, which could be legally binding under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter.

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