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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 05:16 GMT 06:16 UK
Japan seeks North Korea sanctions
2002 picture of Taepodong-type missile
Pyongyang test-fired seven missiles on Wednesday
Japan has presented a strongly worded draft resolution to the UN Security Council calling for sanctions against North Korea over recent missile tests.

Japan, with co-sponsors the US, Britain and France, want the council to decide on Monday when a vote will take place.

US envoy Christopher Hill, who is touring the region, also urged China to speak "with one voice" with the US.

North Korea's deputy envoy to the UN, Han Song-ryol, has reportedly said any UN sanctions would be "an act of war".

Pyongyang drew worldwide condemnation for test-firing seven missiles, including a long-range Taepodong-2.

If this resolution is put to a vote, definitely there would be no unity in the Security Council
Wang Guangya
Beijing's UN ambassador

The long-range missile, which failed seconds into flight, is believed to be capable of reaching Alaska.

All seven missiles fell into the Sea of Japan following the tests on Wednesday.

Mr Oshima said on Friday he had formally presented the resolution to the UN Security Council and had asked for a vote as early as Saturday. The co-sponsors later decided to delay action to Monday.

The resolution urges North Korea to immediately stop developing, deploying and testing ballistic missiles and to return to talks on its nuclear programme.

"We hope that it will be adopted when it is put to a vote with the broad unanimity of the council," Mr Oshima told reporters.

Mr Hill, who has reached Seoul on his regional tour, stressed the need for concerted action to confront North Korea.

He said he had tried to persuade Chinese officials of the need to speak with one voice.

However, there is no agreement on the need for sanctions.

The current form of the draft UN resolution requires all member states to take steps to prevent the transfer of any materials or technology that could be used in North Korea's missile or nuclear weapons programme.

A new paragraph adds they would also be required to take steps to prevent the purchase of anything related to these programmes from Pyongyang and to stop any money transfers.

But Russia and China are likely to support a non-binding statement without the threat of sanctions.

"If this resolution is put to a vote, definitely there would be no unity in the Security Council," Beijing's UN ambassador Wang Guangya said.

When asked if China might use its veto, he responded "all possibilities are open".

1998: Tests long-range Taepodong-1 over Japan
1999: Agrees to moratorium on long-range tests
2003: Six-nation talks begin on N Korea's nuclear programme
2005: Six-nation talks stall
July 2006: N Korea launches seven missiles, including long-range Taepodong-2, which fails

Meanwhile, South Korea has suspended its shipments of food aid to the North until the situation over the missile-testing is resolved, officials said.

South Korea is the North's biggest food aid donor, helping the impoverished North feed its people.

However, Seoul says it still intends to go ahead with cabinet-level talks scheduled for next week.

Earlier, South Korean Defence Minister Yoon Kwang-ung played down reports the North was preparing to launch a second Taepodong-2 missile.

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