In an apparent compromise to China and Russia, Japan intends to draw up a U.N. draft resolution that condemns North Korea’s July 5 missile test-launches but may not include strong measures such as sanctions, which Tokyo had earlier pushed, several government officials said Thursday.
“What is important is to adopt a binding resolution,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, suggesting Japan could back down from its position to push for a sanctions resolution, which it presented last week, in the face of opposition from China and Russia, North Korea’s main allies.
Tokyo’s compromise comes after China and Russia, two veto-wielding permanent U.N. Security Council members, presented an alternative draft U.N. resolution on Wednesday that includes no sanctions.
For China to submit a resolution, and not a nonbinding presidential statement, which has weaker impact, is a step forward in itself and comes closer to the Japanese position, the official indicated.
The official said negotiations on the wording of the text will begin Thursday in New York.
One of the key points is whether the resolution would include wording that the missile launches pose a threat to international peace and security, the official said.
However, the official did not make clear if sanctions would be totally ruled out from the text, reflecting Japan’s continued determination to push for them.
Japan and seven other U.N. Security Council members — which include Britain, France and the United States, three of the five permanent members with veto powers — circulated a sanctions resolution immediately after North Korea’s seven missile launches.
The Japan-led resolution called for stronger measures, including invoking Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter that could mean imposing sanctions on North Korea. But China and Russia opposed it, with Beijing saying it would veto the resolution if it is put to a vote.
The Russian-Chinese draft resolution strongly deplores North Korea’s multiple launches of ballistic missiles and calls on Pyongyang to return to its commitment to its launch moratorium.
It also calls on all member states to exercise vigilance and prevent the supply of materials and technologies that could contribute to North Korea’s missile program and not to procure missiles or missile-related items, materials, goods and technologies from Pyongyang.
But it does not invoke the U.N. Charter’s Chapter 7, serves as the basis for economic sanctions, or include a clause for economic sanctions, or recognize that the missile launches are a threat to international peace and security.
According to the officials, Tokyo intends to seek wording in the envisioned resolution that the missile launches pose a threat to international peace and security and that a freeze should be invoked on further missile launches.
Japan and the United States had agreed to put off a vote Monday to wait and see if China could persuade North Korea to refrain from launching missiles and return to multilateral talks aimed at defusing its nuclear threat.
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