Japan backs UN action on N Korea, mulls new sanctions

Japan said on Monday it supports Seoul`s push to punish North Korea at UNSC.

Tokyo: Japan said on Monday it supports Seoul`s push to punish North Korea at the UN Security Council for sinking a South Korean warship and is also studying more sanctions of its own against Pyongyang.

A multinational investigation last week found that a North Korean submarine torpedoed a South Korean corvette in March, killing 46 sailors.

The communist North has claimed the South faked the evidence and threatened war in response to any moves to punish it. South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak said today his government would refer the matter to the UN Security Council.

Asked about Tokyo`s position, Japan`s top government spokesman Hirofumi Hirano said: "We strongly support (South Korea)."

Washington is pressing veto-wielding Beijing to support further punitive sanctions against the isolated communist regime. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is visiting China till Wednesday.

Hirano, the chief cabinet secretary, called on Beijing to back such a move. "It is assumed that Japan, the United States and South Korea will fully coordinate efforts," he told a regular press conference. "We hope that China will come to share our view."

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama also instructed his ministers in a security meeting to consider additional sanctions against North Korea, on top of a host of punitive measures Tokyo has already imposed.


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