SOUTH KOREA called an emergency meeting of ministers for today after diplomatic moves to end the North Korean nuclear dispute over the weekend broke down and the United States prepared to increase the pressure.
North Korea walked out of a border meeting with the South on Saturday, warning that confrontation on the issue could lead to war.
The US said it would reschedule its suspended military exercises, Team Spirit, with South Korea unless the situation changed by today. Washington will also ask the United Nations Security Council to prepare for sanctions against the North.
North Korea, which denies Western charges that it may be producing a nuclear bomb, this month finally allowed inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit North Korea, but did not give them unfettered access to nuclear sites.
President Clinton's national security advisers met for more than three hours on Saturday. ``If circumstances don't change by Monday, Team Spirit will be rescheduled....'' an official said afterward.
South Korean President Kim Young Sam had said earlier that he believed international sanctions were now inevitable. Japanese premier urges China to intervene in North Korean impasse
JAPANESE Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa yesterday urged China to put pressure on North Korea to accept full international inspection of its nuclear facilities, but was told to be patient.
After talks with Premier Li Peng, Vice Premier Zhu Rongji, and Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin earlier in the day, Mr. Hosokawa addressed a news conference in which he told reporters that he told China's leaders of his ``grave concern'' over North Korea's actions. The official New China News Agency quoted Mr. Li as telling his counterpart that the problem should be settled through peaceful negotiations.
China, one of five permanent council members, has repeatedly opposed sanctions. ``China will continue to work to persuade North Korea to accept full IAEA inspection,'' Japanese officials quoted Li as saying. ``It is also important to give North Korea what it wants,'' Li said. He did not elaborate, but Beijing has called for Washington to establish diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
Human rights was a minor theme during Hosokawa's visit, a sharp contrast to the recent visit of US Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Hosokawa said he reminded China of its obligations under international human rights declarations.