Japan's chief atomic negotiator on Thursday called on the U.N. Security Council to "sooner rather than later" firmly respond to North Korea's apparent violation of restrictions on the nation's use of ballistic missile technology, Agence France-Presse reported.
Shinsuke Sugiyama was referring to the North's December firing of a long-range rocket into space. Sugiyama and his South Korean opposite, Lim Sung-nam, discussed the issue in Seoul on Thursday.
"We agreed that the Security Council, on behalf of the entire international community, must take appropriate action," Sugiyama said following the meeting.
Six-nation talks involving China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia, and the United States were once hoped to achieve a final resolution to the North Korean nuclear impasse. The negotiating framework focuses on rewarding the North's gradual shuttering of its various nuclear weapon efforts with timed infusions of economic assistance and international security pledges. However, the last round of talks took place in December 2008. Since that time Pyongyang has taken a number of steps to advance its nuclear objectives including conducting a second nuclear test and unveiling a uranium enrichment plant.
The December launch cast further doubt on the efficacy of the six-party talks. It is not clear, however, what sort of diplomatic process or tactics could take the place of the regional negotiations, according to Arms Control Today.