UN approval for Korea sanctions

The UN Security Council unanimously approved tough sanctions against North Korea for its claimed nuclear test, but yesterday divisions over how to enforce them signalled that implementation may not be easy.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved tough sanctions against North Korea for its claimed nuclear test, but yesterday divisions over how to enforce them signalled that implementation may not be easy.

One of the biggest differences was over a call on countries to inspect cargo leaving and arriving in North Korea to prevent any illegal trafficking in unconventional weapons or ballistic missiles.

The final resolution was softened from language authorising searches, but was still unacceptable to China - North Korea's closest ally and largest trading partner - which said it would not carry out any searches.

Japan and Australia promised yesterday to immediately enforce the sanctions and said they were considering imposing harsher penalties of their own. South Korea also pledged to implement the measures but gave no details on how it would do so.

The Security Council already had to overcome sharp divisions to approve the sanctions on Saturday.

The US-sponsored resolution demands North Korea eliminate all its nuclear weapons but expressly rules out military action against the country, a demand by the Russians and Chinese. The resolution orders all countries to prevent North Korea from importing or exporting any material for weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles. It orders nations to freeze assets of people or businesses connected to these programmes, and ban the individuals from travelling.

North Korea immediately rejected the resolution, and its UN ambassador walked out of the council chamber after accusing its members of a "gangster-like" action which neglects the nuclear threat posed by the US.

Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer welcomed the UN resolution yesterday as "surprisingly tough" and said his country was considering stronger measures of its own.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said Japan was also considering additional sanctions against North Korea, following its move on Friday to ban trade with the North and close its ports to North Korean ships. Foreign Minister Taro Aso said Japan could support US forces inspecting cargo in and out of the North, though he did not give details.

Yesterday China said it hoped the move would lead to a peaceful resolution.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer