The United States and Japan insisted that the Security Council vote Saturday on a proposed resolution condemning North Korea's missile tests, and a last-minute proposal brought the divided council closer to an agreement.
After days of lengthy negotiations, the council was split over one final issue: Should the resolution be adopted under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows for the use of military force to make sure the resolution is obeyed.
Japan and the United States insisted that Chapter 7 was essential because it made the resolution legally binding. China and Russia wanted no mention of Chapter 7 because of memories of the US war against Iraq and concerns it could be used to justify possible future military action against North Korea.
China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya threatened to veto the initial Japanese draft resolution under Chapter 7. Japan and its supporters circulated a new draft Friday, narrowing the legal authority under which the council could act to Article 40 of Chapter 7. That would erect another hurdle on the road to the council's possible use of military force, but Wang again threatened to veto the resolution.