[JURIST] China has rejected a strongly worded UN Security Council official website] resolution [JURIST report] responding to North Korea's missile launches earlier this month, instead proposing a mild resolution to encourage North Korea [JURIST news archive] not to launch test-missiles. As with the tougher resolution, circulated by Japan on Friday, China's proposal would urge North Korea to stop developing missiles and return to a September 2005 joint agreement [statement] where North Korea "committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards." The draft resolution would also encourage North Korea to return to the six-party talks on the North Korea's nuclear program [GlobalSecurity.org backgrounder]. The Japanese resolution had the support of the United States, Britain and France, but Russia and China have steadfastly opposed the possibility of sanctions [AP report] against North Korea. The Security Council agreed on Monday to delay voting on the resolutions for several days pending a high-level Chinese delegation visit to North Korea.
The biggest difference between the Japanese and Chinese resolutions is that Japan referred to the missile tests as a threat to international peace and security under Chapter 7 [text] of the UN Charter [text], and would have included a binding provision directing states to take whatever steps necessary to prevent North Korea from obtaining materials that could be used in their missile program. Amid concern that the Security Council would not pass the Japanese resolution, Japan has begun considering whether the Japanese constitution [text] would permit a pre-emptive strike on North Korean missile bases [JURIST report] if there is no other option to prevent an attack from North Korea on Monday. CNS News has more. AFP has additional coverage.