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U. S. and Asian allies seek U. N. condemnation of North Korea

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The United States, Japan and South Korea on Friday agreed to push for a quick U. N. Security Council resolution to apply new sanctions on North Korea after its test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) this week.
Meeting at a Group of 20 nations summit in Germany, U. S. President Donald Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to apply “maximum pressure” to counter North Korea’s nuclear threat.
But the three nations might struggle to convince Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council, to back quick sanctions on Pyongyang.
Following a nuclear weapons test by North Korea in September it took the U. N. Security Council three months to agree strengthened sanctions.
Taking a major step in its missile program, North Korea on Tuesday test launched an ICBM that some experts believe has the range to reach the U. S. states of Alaska and Hawaii and perhaps the U. S. Pacific Northwest.
The United States has cautioned it is ready to use force if need be to stop North Korea’s nuclear missile program but said it prefers global diplomatic action.
The United States, South Korea and Japan “decided to press for the early adoption of a new UNSC resolution with additional sanctions to demonstrate to (North Korea) that there are serious consequences for its destabilizing, provocative, and escalatory actions, ” they said in a joint statement.
North Korea on Friday described the missile test as a “gift package” and vowed to deliver more.
“The U. S. will receive more ‘gift packages’ of different sizes from the DPRK (North Korea) in endless succession, as it tries harder to destroy, by means of sanctions and pressure, the overall national power and strategic position of the DPRK which have been drastically boosted, ” the official KCNA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.
U. S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Wednesday she would propose new U. N. sanctions on North Korea. Security Council diplomats said on Friday the United States had not yet circulated a draft resolution to the 15-member council.
Russia objects to a Security Council condemnation of North Korea’s rocket launch because the U. S.-drafted statement labeled it an ICBM, a designation that Moscow disagrees with.
Russia’s resistance does not augur well for Washington’s planned push to impose new U. N. sanctions on North Korea.
China, North Korea’s only big ally and its main trading partner, has called for restraint over North Korea and made clear it does not want to be targeted by any U. S. sanctions.
South Korea’s Moon said in Hamburg he was in favor of dialogue with North Korea despite the “nuclear provocation” of the test launch.
(Reporting by Tim Ahmann in Washington and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Doina Chiacu and Alistair Bell; Editing by David Alexander and James Dalgleish)

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