March 27, 2012 11:15
The leaders of South Korea, the U.S., China and Russia in bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit on Monday urged North Korea to abandon a planned rocket launch. Japan has also strongly demanded Pyongyang halt what many believe is really a long-range missile test, meaning all participants in six-party talks on the North nuclear program except the North itself are united in wanting the planned launch canceled.
President Lee Myung-bak met consecutively with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, where talks focused on North Korea. Hu and Medvedev also spoke one-on-one with U.S. President Barack Obama, who met Lee a day ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit.
In the 45-minute meeting with Lee at Cheong Wa Dae, Hu called the rocket launch plan "undesirable" and added China's leadership is "trying hard to get North Korea to give it up it." China has evidently decided it is diplomatically wiser to adopt close ally Pyongyang's description of the planned launch, which the North says aims to put a satellite into orbit.
But Hu's comments suggest that Beijing in principle agrees that the launch is a long-range ballistic missile test and therefore violates UN Security Council Resolution 1874. Medvedev also said in his meeting with Lee that Pyongyang should focus on feeding its people rather than launching any long-range missiles.
The united positions of UN Security Council members China, Russia and the U.S. indicate that the North will not be able to avoid UN sanctions if it goes ahead with the launch.
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