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UNSC faces legitimacy problem if it ignores N. Korea: Bolton.

BEIJING, July 28 Kyodo

The U.N. Security Council (UNSC) faces ''marginalization'' if it avoids the North Korean issue should other measures aimed at solving the nuclear weapons crisis fail, U.S. arms control chief John Bolton warned Monday.

Bolton, who is undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, is in China to support Beijing's ongoing efforts to draw Pyongyang into multilateral talks about its controversial nuclear program.

A failure by the Security Council to discuss the North Korean issue would call into question the legitimacy of the UNSC, meaning that it ''might be impaired from addressing other proliferation issues or other threats to peace and international security as well,'' Bolton told journalists.

''Those who say the Security Council is not the appropriate place to go have to take into account the impact of their statement on the long term significance and potential role of the council in a variety of disputes,'' he said.

China, one of the five permanent UNSC members and one of North Korea's few friends, has been lukewarm to Washington's suggestion that council provides an appropriate venue to talk about North Korea.

Bolton indicated that during his Monday talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and other top Chinese officials stressed continuing the process of China-brokered talks, rather than bringing the North Korean issue to the Security Council.

In April, talks in Beijing that brought senior U.S. and North Korean officials together for the first time in half a year apparently broke down acrimoniously after the North reportedly told U.S. officials it has nuclear weapons.

Bolton said Russia should join South Korea and Japan in multilateral talks with North Korea.

Pyongyang has been insisting that it will only hold bilateral talks with the United States, even if it is under China's auspices as was the case with the Beijing talks in April.

''Russia has a historic relationship with North Korea and that could make it a very important factor in convincing North Korea that it has to abandon its nuclear weapons program,'' said Bolton.

He also stressed Russia's importance as a permanent member of the UNSC, along with the U.S, China, Britain and France.

Bolton is to fly out of Beijing on Tuesday to continue talks about the North Korean problem and other international strategic issues in South Korean and Japan.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Aug 4, 2003
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