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US, Russia Discount Initial North Korean Rejection of UN Security Council Resolution 


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov say they are not surprised by North Korea's initial rejection of a U.N. Security Council resolution that condemns the country's missile tests and imposes weapons-related sanctions on Pyongyang.

Speaking from the G-8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted that the U.N. Security Council resolution on North Korea passed unanimously. In comments on Fox News Sunday, Rice pointed out that even China, North Korea's closest ally and a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, supported the resolution.

"The Chinese voted affirmatively, with the rest of the Security Council, to require member states to take steps to prevent North Korea from obtaining dangerous materials," said Condoleezza Rice. "This is a very strong resolution. It is binding on member states, and it says to the North Koreans, 'You're isolated. Come back to the six party talks.'"

During Saturday's U.N. session, North Korea's ambassador Pak Gil Yon angrily denounced the Security Council resolution as "unjustifiable," and accused the United States of what he called "strategic blackmail."

Rice said she expected this kind of response.

"Now, I'm not surprised that the first reaction of the North Koreans is to reject it," she said. "That's the way that the North Koreans are. But they've got to be a little surprised at the strength of the resolution. They've got to be a little surprised that the unity of the community was maintained."

The U.N. resolution was also supported by Russia, another country that holds a Security Council veto. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told CNN's Late Edition the resolution signified a balanced approach toward Pyongyang.

"The Security Council just ended a very difficult negotiations, achieving a balance, which very strongly demands from North Korea to stick to its previous commitments, but at the same time, does not threaten North Korea, which would be entirely counter-productive," said Sergei Lavrov. "Let's give some time for this resolution to work."

Japan and the United States had pushed for a version of the resolution that referred to Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter, which makes a Security Council resolution enforceable by military action. But China and Russia were among those who opposed earlier drafts of the measure. The final version calls for sanctions, but does not include references to military action.