PATTAYA, Thailand (Kyodo) Prime Minister Taro Aso hinted Saturday during a meeting here with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President Lee Myung Bak that Japan will accept a U.N. Security Council presidential statement about North Korea’s recent rocket launch in lieu of a resolution.
“If a strong message can be ensured and the international community can swiftly send that message (to North Korea), we think we don’t need to stick to a certain format,” Aso said at a news conference after meeting bilaterally with Wen and as a trio with Lee.
Aso repeated Japan’s position is that it is desirable for the international community to adopt a UNSC resolution, but he also hinted that he and Lee were unable to convince Wen to go along with the matter. China, Pyongyang’s biggest ally, has been resisting calls to support a legally binding resolution.
Aso said that it is obvious the launch violated existing Security Council resolutions that ban Pyongyang from conducting ballistic missile activities, such as Resolution 1718.
During the meeting with Wen, Aso asked that the nonbinding statement include a reference condemning the April 5 launch of what North Korea has said was a satellite but what Japan, South Korea and the United States believe was a disguised attempt to test a long-range ballistic missile, a senior Japanese official said.
Diplomatic sources in New York said Japan is expected to withdraw its proposal for the Security Council to adopt a binding resolution on the suspected missile launch during a council meeting to resume Saturday.
In a separate meeting, Aso and Lee agreed to maintain close policy coordination on issues related to North Korea, the official said.
Earlier in the day, the foreign ministers of Japan, China and South Korea agreed the international community needs to promptly send a “unified and powerful message” on North Korea’s launch, reaffirming that it is undesirable for Pyongyang to take action that undermines peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone said he reached the consensus during separate telephone talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and South Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Yu Myung Hwan in Pattaya, where a summit meeting of leaders from 13 Asian countries slated for Saturday was canceled by Thai antigovernment protesters.
During talks with Yang, Nakasone repeated Japan’s position that the global community should pursue a U.N. Security Council resolution in response to North Korea’s launch.
“In order to send a unified and powerful message, we believe it is desirable that the UNSC adopt a resolution,” Nakasone told reporters.
Japan, South Korea and the United States have agreed to take a firm stance against Pyongyang. But China and Russia — traditional allies of North Korea and two of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members with veto power — are against a resolution aimed at punishing North Korea.
The foreign ministers had been scheduled to hold a trilateral meeting Saturday morning, but it was canceled after the protesters blocked the front entrance to the conference venue.
Aso, Wen and Lee are in Pattaya to attend a series of regional summits over the weekend, including the so-called ASEAN-plus-three summit Saturday and the 16-nation East Asia Summit on Sunday, which was canceled due to security reasons.
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