- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 15, 2006

NEW YORK — The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously yesterday to impose punishing sanctions on North Korea for reportedly carrying out a nuclear test, declaring that the test posed “a clear threat to international peace and security.”

North Korea immediately rejected the resolution, and its U.N. ambassador walked out of the council chamber after accusing its members of a “gangsterlike” action that neglects the nuclear threat posed by the United States.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is ready for talks, dialogue and confrontation,” Ambassador Pak Gil-yon said, using the conventional long form of his country’s name.

“If the United States increases pressure upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea persistently, the DPRK will continue to take physical countermeasures, considering it as a declaration of war.”

The vote came after the United States, Britain and France overcame last-minute differences with Russia and China during what the Russian ambassador called “tense negotiations.”

The resolution demands North Korea eliminate all its nuclear weapons, but expressly rules out military action against the country — a point demanded by the Russians and Chinese.

U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton warned Pyongyang, however, that if it continues pursuing nuclear weapons, the United States would seek further measures.

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

It imposed sanctions for the North’s “flagrant disregard” of the council’s appeal not to detonate a nuclear device and demanded that North Korea “not conduct any further nuclear test or launch of a ballistic missile.”

The resolution bans the import or export of material and equipment that could be used to make nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles. It orders all countries to freeze the assets and ban travel for anyone engaged in supporting North Korea’s weapons programs.

“This action by the United Nations, which was swift and tough, says that we are united in our determination to see to it that the Korean Peninsula is nuclear-weapons free,” President Bush said.

In a measure aimed at North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the country’s tiny elite, the resolution bans the sale of luxury goods to the country.

To meet Russian and Chinese concerns, the U.S. 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.

The resolution calls on all countries to inspect cargo leaving for and arriving from North Korea to prevent any illegal trafficking in unconventional weapons or ballistic missiles.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, said after the vote that this provision allowing the boarding of ships to inspect cargo was still unacceptable to Beijing, and it would not carry out inspections.

Nonetheless, Mr. Wang hailed what he called a “watered-down” resolution.

He told reporters that he did not consider the North Korean ambassador’s response the official reply from Pyongyang, which he awaits.

“The important thing is not what they say here,” Mr. Wang said. The overriding issue, he said, is “how we work together for peace and security in the region.”

Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said Moscow got what it wanted — a strong resolution but one that is also aimed at “prevention of a further escalation of tension.”

North Korea’s Mr. Pak told the Security Council that the reported nuclear test was not inconsistent with the country’s goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

“The DPRK clarified more than once that it would feel no need to possess even a single nuke when it is no longer exposed to the United States’ threat, after it has dropped its hostile policy to the DPRK and confidence has been built between the two countries,” he said.

Mr. Bolton said North Korea’s reported test “unquestionably poses one of the gravest threats to international peace and security that this council has ever had to confront.”

Following Mr. Pak’s speech, Mr. Bolton took the floor again saying: “I’m not going to waste any of our time responding.”

But he noted that North Korea had done yesterday exactly what it did in July after the council adopted limited sanctions for its ballistic-missile tests — immediately reject the resolution and walk out.

“It is the contemporary equivalent of Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the desk,” Mr. Bolton said, referring to the Soviet leader’s legendary act of protest at the U.N. General Assembly in 1960.

Mr. Bolton told reporters afterward that the next step is to start work on implementing the resolution.

On Friday, U.S. officials said an air sampling after North Korea’s claimed nuclear test detected radioactive debris consistent with an atomic explosion. However, the Bush administration and congressional officials said no final determination had been made about the nature of Monday’s mystery-shrouded blast.


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