Japan to Call United Nation Meet If Nkorea Launches Rocket: Envoy

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UNITED NATIONS, April 3, 2009 – Japan will call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council if North Korea goes ahead with its planned rocket launch, its ambassador to the UN said Thursday.

“Japan will request an urgent meeting of the Security Council to discuss this issue,” Ambassador Yukio Takasu told reporters. “This could take place this coming weekend.”

He said after a closed-door meeting of the 15-member council that his US and French colleagues strongly supported his proposal.

North Korea says it intends to launch a communications satellite between April 4-8. But South Korea, the United States and Japan see the exercise as a cover for a long-range missile test.

They say a launch for any reason would breach a UN Security Council resolution passed after the North’s missile and nuclear tests in 2006, which bans it from engaging in any missile-related activities.

The Stalinist state has begun fuelling its rocket in a sign it could be in the final stages of a launch as early as this weekend, CNN quoted a senior US military official as saying. There was no immediate confirmation.

Takasu said intense diplomatic efforts were under way to persuade the North Koreans not to proceed with the launch.

He added that there was a very clear understanding within the council that a North Korean launch “affects not only Japan’s security but peace and the non-proliferation regime.”

Takasu would not say whether Tokyo would press for new sanctions against Pyongyang.

“The council should respond firmly, clearly,” he noted. “But how this would be formulated is something still we have been working on, including the possibility of a resolution.”

North Korea has meanwhile warned that any UN sanctions would cause the breakdown of six-party nuclear disarmament talks.

By Gerard Aziakou

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