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Bush, Koizumi Press Putin to Back North Korea Resolution

President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi both met separately with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to gain his backing for punitive sanctions against North Korea. The leaders met ahead of the start of a summit of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations in Russia.

President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi want a tough U.N. resolution against North Korea for testing long-range missiles and refusing to rejoin six-nation talks aimed at convincing Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program.

China and Russia are resisting that move with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying the text of Japan's initial proposed resolution left no option for compromise.

President Bush says he and President Putin had a productive conversation about North Korea ahead of the start of the G8 summit.

He told reporters that diplomacy is not two countries saying this is the way it is. Diplomacy is two countries agreeing to work together with other countries to send the same message: in this case, he says, no nuclear weapons for North Korea.

"Our goal and objective is to have a nuclear-weapons-free Korean peninsula," said Mr. Bush. "Russia shares that objective. China shares the objective. Japan shares the objective. South Korea shares the objective. So we have got common ground to move forward and now we are working on language. It was a very constructive meeting."

Tokyo and Washington are offering a revised text that seeks to balance their demands for punitive sanctions with milder language proposed by Russia and China.

It tones down its reference to Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter, which authorizes mandatory sanction or the use of force if Pyongyang violates the resolution.

The latest draft demands that North Korea stop all activities related to its missile program and requires all U.N. member states to block Pyongyang from receiving or selling missile technology.