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McCain Urges Punitive Sanctions for North Korean Rocket Launch

Senator John McCain urged China and Russia Monday to back punitive sanctions against North Korea, a day after Pyongyang test fired a missile.

On the first stop of an Asia tour, Senator McCain admonished North Korea for ignoring a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding that Pyongyang not launch any more ballistic missiles.

He told reporters in Hong Kong that North Korea defied the will of the international community, including China and Russia. And, the senator said Monday, those two countries should join the United States and others in imposing sanctions.

"We all know that the major influence on North Korea is China," McCain said. "Everybody knows that. And the Chinese have been, I think, less than committed to restraining North Korea's activities."

The United States, Japan and France condemned the launch. But at an emergency meeting Sunday the Security Council failed to agree on a response.

Beijing and Moscow urged restraint in handling the North. McCain said Monday their reaction was "predictable".

"Their statements don't overreact. Well, that's not (what) the problem is, of overreacting," McCain said. "The problem is the North Koreans have acted. They have acted in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, which should have bound them not to engage in this activity."

McCain calls for total compliance with bans on exporting weapons and luxury goods to North Korea.

Pyongyang has tested a nuclear device and six-nation talks on ending its nuclear program have stalled.

North Korea says its rocket placed a satellite into orbit Sunday. But the United States says no satellite made it into space and the real purpose was to test a long-range ballistic missile.

McCain is a Republican who ran for president last year. He and Senators Lindsey Graham and Amy Klobuchar attended various meetings in Hong Kong Sunday and Monday, including one with Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang.

They head to Vietnam next and will also visit Japan and China.