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US to Push UN to Approve Tough Sanctions Against North Korea

U.S. diplomats are asking the United Nations Security Council to approve tough sanctions against North Korea by the end of this week, to punish the reclusive government for its reported nuclear test.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, is formally introducing the draft resolution to the Council later Thursday.

The draft demands that Pyongyang eliminate its nuclear-weapons program. It also imposes a strict arms embargo, financial sanctions and a ban on the import of luxury goods.

President Bush has called on all world powers to send a clear message to Pyongyang deploring its effort to build nuclear weapons ans this week's underground blast.

The United States is still working to confirm North Korea's claim that a nuclear explosion was part of the weapons test carried out on Monday. But whether or not North Korea's self-proclaimed nuclear test actually achieved its goal, Mr. Bush says the claim itself constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Washington, the president ruled out direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang as a way of defusing the situation, because bilateral negotiations have not worked in the past. Mr. Bush stressed, however, that Washington has no intention of attacking North Korea.

North Korea is threatening to carry out further nuclear tests, and said it would consider continued pressure tactics by the United States as a declaration of war.

A senior Chinese diplomat, former foreign minister Tang Jiaxuan, has been holding talks on the North Korea crisis in the U.S. this week, and he is now heading for a similar round of meetings in Moscow.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says his main concern following North Korea's nuclear-test announcement is that Pyongyang could supply nuclear technology to other countries, or to terrorist groups.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters