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Japan Seen Willing to Compromise on N. Korea Sanctions


The Japanese government is acknowledging stiff resistance from China is undermining its quest for a U.N. Security Council resolution that would punish North Korea for its provocative rocket launch. Meanwhile, North Korea is expressing anger at Japan's attempt to recover parts of the rocket that landed in the sea.

Japanese officials said they are working with their American counterparts to draft a resolution that can be approved by all members of the U.N. Security Council.

China and Russia, which have Security Council veto power, have made it clear they do not favor harsh language in a U.N. declaration concerning Sunday's launch from North Korea.

Japan's chief government spokesman, Takeo Kawamura, said in view of China's stiff opposition Tokyo is negotiating in partnership with Washington on a new resolution.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura said whatever emerges from the Security Council should be in line with the sanctions the group imposed on North Korea three years ago.

Japan, the United States, and South Korea said Sunday's launch violated U.N. Resolution 1718 prohibiting Pyongyang from carrying out ballistic-missile activity.

Beijing and Moscow are expressing reservations the launch violated the Security Council resolution approved in 2006.

Japan, the United States, and South Korea said there is no evidence North Korea placed a satellite in orbit as it claims. American officials said the payload stage fell into the Pacific Ocean and the launch was a test of a Taepodong-2 missile.

The criticism has prompted Pyongyang to begin firing verbal salvos at Tokyo and other capitals critical of its action. It called the remarks despicable and warned of unspecified repercussions if the world body imposes additional sanctions.

The official Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang also quoted the North Korean military terming as an "intolerable military provocative act" and "espionage" Japan's quest to recover fragments of the rocket at sea. The report said such attempts will be met with an appropriate response.

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