Bush: Int'l community will take action

N. Korean nuke test incurs global wrath; widespread calls for UNSC sanctions.

By DAN IZENBERG, JPOST STAFF
October 9, 2006 09:53
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The US was rallying the international community to take action against North Korea, following Pyongyang's announcement that it had detonated its first nuclear device in a test site in a northern province of the country. US president George Bush, speaking at the White House early Monday morning, called the North Korean nuclear test a "provocative act" and stressed the need for international cooperation to deal with the problem.

  • Archive: Middle Israel: On Germans, Koreans, and Jews At the same time, the US has already began talks with its allies in the UN Security Council on passing a new resolution which will enable the UN to take action against North Korea following the nuclear test. "Such a threat itself constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The United States condemns this provocative act," Bush told reporters at the White House. AP contributed to this report. The US launched an immediate diplomatic effort in attempt to provide quick reaction to the North Korean nuclear test. President Bush spoke by phone to leaders of Japan, South Korea, China and Russia which are all members of the six party talks the US is conducting with North Korea for several years. In his White House statement, President Bush referred to the threat of nuclear proliferation, making it clear that the US will see itself threatened directly if North Korea passes on its nuclear capabilities to others. "The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States and we would hold North Korea fully accountable for consequences of such action," Bush said. US president George Bush, speaking at the White House early Monday morning, called the North Korean nuclear test a "provocative act" and stressed the need for international cooperation to deal with the problem. At the same time, the US has already began talks with its allies in the UN Security Council on passing a new resolution which will enable the UN to take action against North Korea following the nuclear test. "Such a threat itself constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The United States condemns this provocative act," Bush told reporters at the White House. The US launched an immediate diplomatic effort in attempt to provide quick reaction to the North Korean nuclear test. President Bush spoke by phone to leaders of Japan, South Korea, China and Russia which are all members of the six party talks the US is conducting with North Korea for several years. The main goal of US diplomacy at present is to put in place sanctions against the Pyongyang government. Russia and China are seen as the main players in any decision on sanctions, since they are among the few nations world wide that have active trade and economic relations with North Korea. The US would also like to see South Korea, which is trying to open up to its neighbor from the north, to apply pressure as well in order to signal to North Korea that becoming a nuclear power will isolate the country even more. The US is stressing that it is focusing now on diplomatic means to deal with the North Korean problem. US ambassador to the UN John Bolton began work with his Japanese counterpart on the language of a new UN resolution concerning North Korea's nuclear test under the clause in the UN Charter which also allows the use of military force as a last option. In his White House statement, President Bush referred to the threat of nuclear proliferation, making it clear that the US will see itself threatened directly if North Korea passes on its nuclear capabilities to others. "The transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States and we would hold North Korea fully accountable for consequences of such action," Bush said. Bush was among many world leaders who reacted negatively to North Korea's claim and called for harsh and immediate sanctions from the UN Security Council. Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the move, the Interfax news agency reported, and the Foreign Ministry called in Pyongyang's ambassador to warn him the test could "provoke a nuclear arms race in northeast Asia." "Enormous damage has been done to the process of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the world," Putin said, according to Interfax. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said called the test "irresponsible," and the British Foreign Office warned there would be international repercussions. "I condemn this completely irresponsible act by the government of the DPRK," Blair said, referring to the North by the abbreviation of its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Australian Prime Minister John Howard said his government would call on the UN Security Council to take "swift and effective action" against North Korea, including financial, trade and travel sanctions. "But if the United Nations fails to act effectively against this outrage from North Korea, it will represent a further diminution of its authority." South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun condemned the reported test, saying it would make it difficult for Seoul to maintain its engagement policy with its communist neighbor. Roh said Seoul would try to resolve the situation through dialogue, but his government reportedly delayed the planned delivery of 4,000 tons of cement to the North on Tuesday as emergency relief. South Korea also raised its military's alert level, and its intelligence agency warned that Pyongyang could conduct more tests, the Yonhap news agency reported. South Korea, which does not have nuclear weapons, has shared the world's most heavily armed border with North Korea since the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a truce, without a peace treaty. Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was in South Korea Monday for the first summit between the neighbors in a year, called for a coordinated and level-headed response. "Although the test still needs to be confirmed, there must be a calm yet stern response," Abe said at a luncheon just prior to the summit. "It is important for Japan and South Korea, along with the United States and China, to work together and send a message to the world." China - a key North Korean ally - openly criticized Pyongyang and demanded that it return to disarmament talks. "China expresses its resolute opposition," China's Foreign Ministry said, adding that the North "defied the universal opposition of international society and flagrantly conducted the nuclear test." Beijing is a longtime supporter of North Korea but also the host of international talks aimed at persuading the fellow communist country to give up its nuclear ambitions. Its strongly worded reaction to Pyongyang's nuclear test opens up possibility of punitive measures against Pyongyang, which relies on Beijing for all of the oil it consumes. Germany also condemned the move and called for immediate UN Security Council action. "Today's nuclear tests endangers peace and security in the region and beyond," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a statement. "The United Nations Security Council is now called on to counter this North Korean provocation with a determined reaction." India and Pakistan, South Asian rivals whose nuclear arms race has concerned the world, too, said North Korea's reported test could destabilize northeast Asia. "We are deeply concerned at the reported nuclear test ... in violation of its international commitments, jeopardizing peace, stability and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the region," said India's Ministry of External Affairs. Indonesia condemned North Korea over its announced test, saying the test would add to regional tensions. "The Government of Indonesia reiterates its position that the recent nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is unacceptable under any justifiable reason," a statement from the Foreign Ministry said. "The nuclear test conducted by the DPRK will only create new tensions and threaten stability in the Asia-Pacific region."

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