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Key U.N. members weigh NK sanction

Bush says Pyongyang making country more isolated

story.1900.protest.ap.jpg
Protesters in Seoul burn North Korean flags and images of Kim Jong Il after news of the tests.

NORTH KOREAN MISSILES

Taepodong-2: Range of 2,300 miles to more than 9,300 miles means the missile could potentially reach all mainland U.S. cities as well as European capitals.
Nodong: Range of about 620 miles puts Tokyo and most of Japan as potential targets.
Scud: Range of about 180 miles means the missile could threaten Seoul, South Korea.

Source: GlobalSecurity.org

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Security Council members have denounced North Korea's missile test-launches and began considering a draft resolution Wednesday that would impose sanctions on the Communist nation's missile program.

No action was taken, but the diplomats and technical experts are to meet again Thursday to go over language of the resolution behind closed doors.

After the initial discussions, China and Russia expressed the desire for a weaker council statement -- something that would avoid sanctions and the weight of international law.

Before the meeting of 15 council members began, China's U.N. ambassador called the test firings a "regret" and said Beijing was "concerned."

"This is the view of the international community, that actions taken should be constructive to maintaining peace in that part of the world," Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya said.

China is one of five permanent council members, including Russia, with veto power and, as North Korea's neighbor, is Pyongyang's main provider of food, oil and economic aid (Security Council facts).

Another Chinese diplomat said after the meeting, "We still don't see the need for a resolution."

All of the seven missiles fired by North Korea early Wednesday local time -- six short-range variants of the Soviet-era Scud and one long-range rocket -- fell into the Sea of Japan.

The long-range missile, the Taepodong-2, failed about 40 seconds after it was fired, U.S. officials said. Some analysts believe the Taepodong-2 is capable of hitting the western United States.

"We had six Scuds and one dud fired," said Joseph Cirincione, with the Center for American Progress, a nonprofit research institute. "All of them landed in the Sea of Japan, all of them thousands of miles away from American shores."

Oil, stocks react

Stock markets around the world closed lower after the tests, while oil closed in New York Wednesday at a record high above $75 a barrel (Full story).

NBC quoted unnamed U.S. officials Wednesday saying that North Korea is preparing to launch another Taepodong-2 missile.

The network said the missile is in the final assembly stages but not on a launch pad. CNN sources have said North Korea has more of the long-range missiles, but their reliability is now in question.

A senior Pentagon official told CNN that there are no signs another Taepodong launch is imminent.

The resolution proposed by Japan would prevent nations from providing money, materials and technology to "end users that could contribute to DPRK's (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) missile and other weapons of mass destruction programs."

The proposal was immediately supported by the United States and Britain.

U.S. President George W. Bush said the missile tests only serve to further isolate North Korea, and vowed to work with the other members in the six-party talks "to remind the leader of North Korea that there is a better way forward for his people."

White House spokesman Tony Snow told reporters earlier Wednesday that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had spoken with her four counterparts in the six-party talks: Japan, Russia, South Korea and China. (Watch Rice's statement on North Korea -- 2:16)

She and other officials want North Korea to return to the nuclear talks, which stalled last year -- and that requirement is in the proposal.

Later Wednesday, Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley were to meet with South Korea's national security adviser to discuss the problem.

Under the document, the council would reaffirm its "resolve to take appropriate and effective actions against any threat to international peace and security caused by the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons."

'Deep concerns'

Whatever the wording of the final resolution, it "should have clear and strong condemnation of the missile launches and it should also mention the concern, very deep concerns of the international community over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," said Kenzo Oshima, Japan's ambassador to the United Nations. (Watch Japan's call for U.N. action -- 2:41)

Japan imposed sanctions on North Korea on Wednesday, including barring the Mangyongbong No. 92 from entering a Japanese port. The ship commutes between Japan and North Korea.

"I think the preliminary discussion in the Security Council this morning was very interesting because no member defended what the North Koreans have done," said John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

French U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere told reporters one of the issues to be discussed is the question of dual-use goods -- items that could be used in the missile program or for peaceful purposes.

The White House said the missile launches posed no immediate threat to the United States, but Washington dispatched Christopher Hill, its top negotiator in the six-party talks, to consult with U.S. allies in Asia.

In an interview with CNN International, Hill expressed satisfaction with the international response to North Korea.

"It's really quite unprecedented the degree to which everybody lined up opposed to these launches, launches that took place despite words of warning from world leaders," he said.

Asked the motivation for the launches, he said, "You'll have to ask them. Firing off six or seven missiles of this kind -- threatening the entire peace and tranquility of the neighborhood -- is not in anybody's interest."

In a separate interview with PBS Television, Hill said the tests would not give North Korea a better bargaining position over its nuclear program, which is the focus of the stalled six-party talks.

The United States and Japan had urged Pyongyang to stick with the moratorium on long-range missile tests it declared in 1999, after it fired a Taepodong-1 missile over Japan in 1998.

Intelligence agencies around the region had been watching North Korean preparations for the long-range test, but the shorter-range missiles were launched from a different site.

The Taepodong-2 landed about 200 miles west of Japan in the Sea of Japan, a U.S. military source said. Russian news media reports said some debris landed near the Russian coast, but the Russian military could not immediately confirm those reports.

'Provocative acts'

A spokesman for South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said after Wednesday's National Security Council meeting that North Korea must take responsibility for events resulting from its firing of the missiles.

"North Korea needs to stop such provocative acts and return to the six-party talks to resolve the issue through dialogue," said Roh spokesman Suh Ju-Suk.

"This will hurt peace in the region. Even in South-North relations, this will worsen the North Korean sentiment of the South Koreans. So we deem this an unwise act and express our serious concern."

Prof. James Auer of Vanderbilt University told CNN Thursday that one "silver lining" from the tests was that Japan might increase its spending on missile defense measures.

Meanwhile, Pyongyang said it was prepared to deal with any U.S. challenge to its security, hours after its test-firing of seven missiles ignited international concern. (Watch how missile tests shock the world -- 2:19)

An announcement on Pyongyang's Korean Central Broadcasting Station said North Korea's "strong war deterrent" had kept the country at peace and that it was prepared to respond to any moves by Washington, The Associated Press reported.

The broadcast did not mention the missile tests, but said, "Now, our military and people are fully prepared to cope with any provocation and challenge by U.S. imperialists," according to the AP.

North Korea fired seven missiles Wednesday, one long-range and five shorter-range missiles beginning shortly after 3:30 a.m. (2:30 p.m. Tuesday ET) and a seventh missile around 5:20 p.m. (4:20 a.m. ET) Wednesday. (See a map of the North Korean tests)

Bush: 'A better way forward'

Bush said U.S. officials were still analyzing data from the North Korean tests. But the failure of that test "doesn't, frankly, diminish my desire to solve this problem," he told reporters at the White House. (Watch as Bush outlines the U.S.'s position -- 5:57)

The six-party talks have stalled in recent months as North Korea has insisted on direct talks with Washington.

"It's their choice to make, but what these firings of the rockets have done is isolate the North Koreans further," Bush said. "And that's sad for the people of North Korea."

However, he added, "We will work together to continue to remind the leader of North Korea that there is a better way forward for his people."

Some analysts said the tests were also an effort by impoverished North Korea to redirect attention to the six-party talks. (Watch why North Korea may be flexing its muscles -- 3:31)

Jim Walsh, a national security analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the tests "do not represent an immediate military threat to the United States."

"It's very difficult technology. They very clearly have not mastered it," he said. "Most estimates are they will not master it for another 10 years."

CNN's Richard Roth, Jamie McIntyre, David Ensor, Barbara Starr, Suzanne Malveaux, Atika Shubert, Sohn Jie-Ae, Liz Neisloss, Elise Labott and Justine Redman contributed to this report

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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