Key powers weigh possible sanctions against NKorea

UNITED NATIONS- Ambassadors of seven key powers exchanged views Thursday on possible, tougher UN sanctions against North Korea over its latest nuclear test and agreed to continue the bargaining in the coming days.
Envoys from Japan and South Korea joined their counterparts from the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- in closed-door talks on a draft resolution that would condemn "in the strongest terms" Monday's North Korean test which violated UN resolutions.

Key powers weigh possible sanctions against NKorea
"This is quite a complicated discussion," Britain's UN Ambassador John Sawers told reporters after the meeting. "We're looking forward to continuing our work. We need some time."
Russia's UN ambassador, the council chair this month, said the group needed some time to reflect on specific elements of the future resolution.
Diplomats said a meeting by the full 15-member Security Council on the draft was not expected until early next week.
The text, being drafted by Japan and the United States, leaves out details of a key paragraph on possible, additional sanctions that would be slapped on the Stalinist state.
A Western diplomat on Wednesday said that the seven powers involved in discussions were committed to broadening existing sanctions against Pyongyang.
The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that under consideration was extending the list of entities targeted for travel bans or financial sanctions, a broader arms embargo, tougher inspections of cargo, a freeze on North Korean assets abroad, and denial of access to the international banking and financial services.
China's deputy UN ambassador Liu Zhenmin, on his way to the closed-door meeting, told reporters that his delegation had yet to receive instructions from Beijing on how to proceed.
China is viewed as an especially important player in the standoff with the North Korea due to its energy links with Pyongyang and supposed leverage over its reclusive neighbor.
The proposed draft, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, "demands that the DPRK (North Korea) not conduct any further nuclear test or launch" and Pyongyang "immediately retract its announcement of withdrawal from the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons."
The draft also "calls upon all member states immediately to enforce" measures put in place in Security Council Resolution 1718, adopted in October 2006 after North Korea's first nuclear tests and subsequent missile tests.
Last month, the Security Council issued a statement condemning a previous rocket launch by Pyongyang.

Friday, May 29th 2009

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