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Sanctions Firm and Fair
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The United Nations Security Council showed its solidarity on Saturday in responding to North Korea for its October 9 nuclear test. Its unanimous vote on imposing sanctions on North Korean and individuals supporting its military program sent a strong, necessary message that North Korean should cease its nuclear weapon program.

Calling its nuclear test "a clear threat to international peace and security," the Council demanded that the country return immediately to the negotiations without precondition.

The UN should respond appropriately to the nuclear test by North Korean. The irresponsible act of the country goes against its commitment enshrined in the joint statement it signed with five countries in Beijing last September during the Six-Party Talks.

Saturday's vote demonstrated the UN's strong resolution, which is also aimed at preventing a further escalation of tension.

It is a resolution with both punishment and encouragement.

The Council's condemnation on North Korean's nuclear test is clear and firm, followed by the same clear and affirmative demand. North Korea is asked not to conduct any further nuclear test or launch a ballistic missile.

On the list of items banned by the sanctions is any material for weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles, coupled with luxury goods.

North Korean totally rejects the resolution and accuses the Security Council of unfairness and double standards.

North Korean's representative told the Council his country was ready for both dialogue and confrontation. He claimed that if the United States persistently increased pressures upon North Korean, it would continue to take physical countermeasures because it considered these pressures as a declaration of war.

Though a resolution that carries punitive sanctions on North Korean is in place, prudence is still needed. The countries involved should refrain from taking any provocative approaches that may intensify the tensions.

The Six-Party Talks were the forum established for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and should be maintained to work for this purpose.

China opposes North Korean's nuclear test, which not only defies its international commitments but also causes tensions in East Asia and the world at large.

In this sense, the Security Council's response was an approach the international community had to take.

The UN resolution sent a necessary call to North Korean to immediately retract its announced withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, return to that pact, and works with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Without the threat of use of force, the resolution, the second on North Korean in four months, offers leeway for diplomatic endeavors to handle North Korean's nuclear issue outside sanctions.

The resolution carries the articles encouraging diplomacy that may push North Korean back to the Six-Party Talks. Furthermore, it encourages North Korean to comply with the resolution.

(China Daily October 16, 2006)


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