Japan PM says would back North Korea U.N. resolution

TOKYO (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s prime minister said on Thursday he would back South Korea if it sought a U.N. Security Council resolution against North Korea over the sinking of one of its warships, and urged China to take a firmer stance.

A report by investigators, including experts from the United States, Australia, Britain and Sweden, concluded that a North Korean submarine had fired the torpedo that sank the Cheonan corvette in March, killing 46 sailors.

“If South Korea seeks a resolution at the U.N. Security Council, Japan should in a sense be at the forefront of that,” Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama told reporters. “I want to work hard in that direction.”

Beijing has avoided joining the international chorus of condemnation, urging the North and South to exercise restraint, but not commenting substantively on the report.

“South Korea has acted in an extremely calm manner so far,” Hatoyama said. “China may be using the word ‘calm’ in a different sense. We must acknowledge the facts as facts.

“As part of that, to ensure that such an unbelievable act will not occur again, we must firmly tackle this in an international arena. I also hope China will do this,” he added.

Ties between Beijing and Tokyo have frequently been chilled by disputes over territory and issues stemming from Japan’s invasion and occupation of much of China in the early 20th century.

In recent weeks, Japan has complained that Chinese helicopters flew dangerously close to its destroyers, which were monitoring Chinese military exercises at sea.

Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada said earlier Tokyo and Washington had agreed it would be difficult to resume multilateral talks on reining in North Korea’s nuclear program after the report on the sinking.

Pyongyang has boycotted the talks since 2008, but North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was reported to have said during a recent visit to China that he was willing to discuss returning to negotiations.

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(Reporting by Chisa Fujioka and Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Japan PM says would back North Korea U.N. resolution