04/07/2009, 00.00
JAPAN – KOREA
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Tokyo wants strong UN response to N Korea missile

The Japanese government is in favour of “a strong and unified message” from the United Nations Security Council. China and Russia are against a binding resolution against the North Korean regime. Pyongyang is celebrating the successful launch also attended by Kim Jong-il. Trade between North Korea and China resumes.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tokyo wants a strong response from the United Nations Security Council against North Korea’s rocket launch on Sunday. However, the five permanent members of the Security Council—the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia—failed to reach any agreement and remain divided. In North Korea the government’s propaganda machine instead is celebrating the great success at which Kim Jong-il was present.

“All countries are agreed that a clear and firm response is needed. But the content is still under deliberation. Agreement has not been reached, there are various opinions,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said. “It is important for the Security Council to issue a strong and unified message,” he added.

Diplomatic sources say that China and Russia are willing to accept a warning to Pyongyang, urging the North Koreans to go back to the negotiating table. But both are opposed to any resolution binding on North Korea.

Analysts said Sunday's launch of the rocket, which flew over Japan in its 3,200km flight, was in fact the test of a ballistic missile designed to carry a warhead as far as the US state of Alaska.

Despite Pyongyang's claims the US military and South Korea said no part of the Taepodong-2 rocket entered orbit.

By contrast, in North Korea people are being told about the successful space deployment of the satellite now transmitting data, revolutionary music and odes to the nation’s two leaders, Kim Il-sung e Kim-Jong-il.

According to official North Korean sources, the “Dear Leader” attended the rocket launch, and praised the scientists who put the satellite in space.

Meanwhile border trade between China and North Korea resumed today. It had been halted for the previous three days because of a long-weekend national holiday in China.

Thus Beijing does not seem prepared to penalise Pyongyang for its missile launch.

Nearly 50 Chinese trucks lined up at the Dandong customs station to transport goods into North Korea.

But few truckers were willing to talk about the situation because North Korea had effectively put a gag order on anyone talking to the media.

“We have been told not to accept interviews,” one driver said.

Most other mainland businessmen and truck drivers insisted that China had to support the economy of its long-time ally to help alleviate dire poverty in North Korea.

Trade between China and North Korea hit a record US$ 2.79 billion last year, up 41 per cent from the year before.

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