US expects UN 'progress' on N Korea launch

2012-04-16 11:01

Tokyo - Barack Obama's pointman on East Asia said on Monday after a meeting in Japan that the United States expected "progress" at the UN to chastise North Korea for last week's failed rocket launch.

Kurt Campbell said a flurry of diplomacy would likely result in a coherent international response to Pyongyang's defiant move.

"On the process of the United Nations, I think you will see specific steps on Monday when the Security Council returns," the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs told reporters in Tokyo after the talks with Japanese officials.

"All I can say is there has been very close co-ordination between the United States and Japan. I think what we have heard is satisfaction with how we have worked together, and what indeed we have accomplished together," he said.

North Korea admitted it had failed in its stated intention of putting a satellite into orbit after the launch on Friday of a rocket that disintegrated over the Yellow Sea after barely two minutes' flight.

The United States and its allies believe it was a disguised missile test.

New cult of personality

There are concerns that Pyongyang might carry out a nuclear test after the rocket failure, which was intended as part of weekend commemorations marking the centenary of the birth of North Korea's founding leader Kim Il-Sung.

The celebrations were also to help formalise a new cult of personality around his grandson Kim Jong-Un.

Campbell gave no details on his discussions in Tokyo but said the allies were working in concert.

"I think the United States and Japan are again demonstrating very close co-ordination in the midst of provocative actions with respect to North Korea."

Washington and Tokyo have asked Beijing to consider supporting UN action against its troublesome ally.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday asked her Chinese counterpart to convey US concern to Pyongyang.

That was followed by Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba who also telephoned Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday, telling him that the Security Council must take action in response to the violation of UN resolutions.

Campbell is scheduled to visit South Korea, India and Singapore before returning to the United States on Thursday.