U.S. pushing for North Korean sanctions at UN

SEOUL Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:30am IST

Related Topics

SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States is pushing hard for tough sanctions against North Korea, one of its top envoys for Asia said on Wednesday, although diplomats at the United Nations said it appeared unlikely that the North's ally, China, would support them.

Washington, along with South Korea, Japan and European Union states, want to punish North Korea for its December rocket launch with a United Nations Security Council resolution and tougher sanctions against Pyongyang.

"We anticipate formal steps in the Security Council in the immediate future," Kurt Campbell, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asian Affairs, told reporters after meeting with South Korean defence and foreign ministry officials.

Campbell said Washington was "in the midst of really rather intense deliberations" in the Security Council. He did not directly address the issue of China's involvement and is set to travel to Japan after South Korea.

Bejing is the North's only major diplomatic ally. While it agreed to sanctions in the wake of North Korea's 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests, diplomats at the United Nations say China only wants a presidential statement to condemn the latest launch but would allow more names to be added to a UN blacklist.

North Korea is already banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions from developing nuclear and missile technology but has been working steadily on its nuclear test site, possibly in preparation for a third nuclear test, satellite images show.

December's successful long-range rocket launch, the first to put a satellite in orbit, was a coup for North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un.

It raised tensions in East Asia at the same time as Japan and South Korea elected new leaders, who Washington want to mend relations after a dispute over an island claimed by both countries boiled over.

The island dispute caused Tokyo and Seoul to cancel intelligence-sharing plans. They also allowed to lapse a $57 billion currency swap agreement aimed at insulating two of Asia's largest economies from the global financial crisis.

Campbell is due to meet South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye later on Wednesday.

Washington hopes South Korea and Japan can put a lid on spats over history and territory stemming from Japan's 1910-45 occupation of Korea.

U.S. officials are also seeking to reassure Tokyo as it confronts almost daily challenges from China over the sovereignty of other disputed islets in a separate, more dangerous, territorial row.

"We have very great confidence in the leadership in both Japan and South Korea to recognise the strongest, best interests of both countries to maintain that positive trajectory going forward," Campbell said. (Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations; Editing by Paul Tait)

FILED UNDER:

Reuters Showcase

Sahara Saga

Sahara Saga

Some staff say Sahara has not paid salaries for months   Read 

Jihadi John

Jihadi John

British PM Cameron vows to hunt down 'Jihadi John'.  Full Article 

Economic Survey

Economic Survey

India in "sweet spot" of lower deficits, more growth - Economic Survey.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Dum Laga Ke Haisha" is rooted in reality, writes Shilpa Jamkhandikar.  Read | Ab Tak Chhappan 

Nimoy Dies

Nimoy Dies

Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's 'Mr. Spock,' dies at 83.  Full Article 

Gown Returned

Gown Returned

Lupita Nyong'o's $150,000 Oscar gown returned by thief via TMZ.  Full Article 

NZ vs Australia

NZ vs Australia

Boult destroys powerful Australia batting lineup.  Full Article 

World Cup 2015

World Cup 2015

Full coverage of cricket world cup in Australia and New Zealand.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage