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Resumption of Six-Party Talks Urged
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Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitali Churkin, called on Wednesday for a resumption of the six-party talks on the Korean peninsula nuclear Issue.

Churkin made the remarks after an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council discussed the reported missile launch by North Korea.

He stressed that while "a strong and clear message is needed, the goal should be a resumption of the six-party talks, suspended since September, and a diplomatic solution."

"I frankly do not expect anybody would be proposing any sanctions," Churkin observed, obviously referring to a draft resolution being proposed by Japan.

The draft text, according to a diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity, demands the international community prevent the transfer of financial resources, items, materials, goods and technology to end users that could contribute to missile and other weapons of mass destruction programs.

It also calls on North Korea to immediately cease "the development, testing, deployment and proliferation of ballistic missiles."

"In my mind, we could consider the format of a presidential statement," the Russian ambassador said. "I would caution you against whipping up emotions too much."

Meanwhile, French Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, who holds the Council presidency for the month of July, told reporters following the consultations that all members have expressed deep concern after the test-launching of missiles by North Korea.

He admitted some member states believed a presidential statement instead of a resolution would be more appropriate at this stage.

"It's too early to say at this moment what the outcome will be except to say that there is an agreement in the council to act swiftly and firmly," the French ambassador said.

Finland, which holds the rotating European Union (EU) presidency, issued on Wednesday a declaration on behalf of the EU.

"The EU strongly condemns the provocative missile test-launches performed by the government of North Korea. These tests, which also included long-range missile systems that can be used to deliver weapons of mass destruction, place additional strains on regional stability at a time when the unresolved nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula requires mutual confidence building," the declaration said.

"The tests run counter to the spirit of the Joint Declaration adopted in the Six-Party talks in September 2005," it added.

The EU urged North Korea to return to the talks without preconditions and to cooperate fully in implementing the Joint Declaration.

Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana strongly condemned the tests and said they ran "contrary to earlier commitments."

He added, "I appeal to North Korea government not to repeat this provocation and to return to the six-party talks."

Also on Wednesday, many countries expressed deep concern about the Korean nuclear issue, considering the move detrimental to regional peace and stability.

Britain described North Korea missile tests as "provocative" and said they would raise tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

The South Korean government issued a statement expressing "deep regret" over the launching of the missiles, including the long-range Taepodong-2 missile and the Rodong missiles.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun called an emergency meeting of security ministers.

Japan lodged a stern protest, considering as provocative the launch of the missiles, which all fell on the Sea of Japan.

In reaction, Japan's cabinet decided on Wednesday to impose a set of sanctions against North Korea, including banning North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92, the only direct passenger link between the two countries, from calling at Japanese ports for six months.

Among the most stern responses, the White House strongly condemned the test-firing of the missiles, including a long-range one capable of reaching US soil, but said they did not pose a danger to America.

"We do consider it provocative behavior," US national security adviser Stephen Hadley said.
France strongly condemned Wednesday the missile tests, expressing the worry that "such missiles could carry weapons of mass destruction."

Also in Paris, Visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri said Wednesday that the missile tests carried out by North Korea was a very unfortunate development.

"It's a very unfortunate development...We know that proliferation is a major international concern," Kasuri told reporters in Paris.

Southeastern Asian countries also voiced their worries about the missile tests.

The Philippines called on Pyongyang to stop.

"We hope that Pyongyang will not pursue this and that the powerful countries and the United Nations will be in a position to stop this," presidential spokesman Eduardo Ermita told reporters at the presidential palace.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday that the city state deeply regretted the test-launch of several missiles by North Korea.

"This will have serious repercussions on regional peace and stability. Singapore urges Pyongyang to cease such provocative actions and return to the six-party talks," the brief statement said.

In a more direct approach, Indonesia sent a presidential envoy to Pyongyang on Wednesday afternoon, in an attempt to ease tensions.

The chief of the Indonesian House of Parliament's Commission I, Theo Sambuaga, called on North Korea Wednesday to stop its missile test firings to avoid suspicions and retaliation by countries feeling threatened by the action.

(Xinhua News Agency July 6, 2006)


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