U.S. plan seeks 2-part embargo on North Korea

June 07, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- The Clinton administration has decided to press for a two-stage economic embargo against North Korea, calling for limited economic sanctions initially, followed by a total trade stoppage if the Pyongyang government does not give inspectors access to nuclear plants.

The outlines of the draft proposal, hammered out over the weekend in consultation with South Korean and Japanese officials, were described yesterday to diplomats from Britain, France, China and Russia, whose approval is key to any action by the U.N. Security Council.

U.S. and foreign officials said the proposal had strong South Korean and Japanese backing. South Korean President Kim Young Sam and Japanese Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata announced their support yesterday for stiff action by the United Nations.

But administration strategists and diplomats cautioned there is little likelihood of any real U.N. moves until next week, at the earliest, after other Security Council members have time to study documents and suggest changes.

The developments came as President Clinton sought to avoid escalating the dispute with Pyongyang, saying there "still is time for North Korea to change its course" and avoid imposition of sanctions.

Both U.S. and foreign officials declined to provide details of the draft plan, but they said it would involve more than the usual routine warning that such resolutions often provide.

North Korea told the United Nations today that it would never allow inspections of two suspect nuclear waste sites, Reuters reported today. Inspection of the sites had been raised as a possible alternative means to find out if Pyongyang has made an atomic bomb.

Yun Ho-jin, North Korean delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, said his government would "never" allow access to these locations in its nuclear complex at Yongbyon, Reuters said.

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