US, France, Britain urge new United Nations sanctions on North Korea after nuclear test
The United States, Britain and France pushed the United Nations Security Council on Friday to impose new sanctions on North Korea over its fifth and biggest nuclear test as the 15-member council condemned the move by Pyongyang.
North Korea conducted the nuclear test on Friday and said it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile, ratcheting up a threat that its rivals and the United Nations have been powerless to contain.
“North Korea is seeking to perfect its nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles so they can hold the region and the world hostage under threat of nuclear strike,” US Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters ahead of the council meeting.
“We will take additional significant steps, including new sanctions to demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to its unlawful and dangerous actions,” Power said.
The Chinese government did not address further sanctions, but also condemned the test.
“We’re opposed to the testing and we believe that it is more urgent than ever to work together to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” China’s UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi told reporters.
“All sides should refrain from mutual provocation and any action that might exacerbate the situation,” he said.
Beijing has said Washington’s decision to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system would only worsen tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Power has rejected suggestions that the decision to deploy the anti-missile defence system in South Korea had provoked Pyongyang.
North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006. In March, the Security Council tightened sanctions to further isolate the impoverished country after its fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February.
The Security Council condemned Friday’s test, calling it “a clear violation and in flagrant disregard” of previous resolutions and of the Nonproliferation regime.
In the unanimously adopted March resolution, the council expressed “its determination to take further significant measures in the event of a further DPRK [North Korea] nuclear test or launch.”
The 15-member council said it will begin to work immediately on appropriate measures, without adding details.
“Weakness is simply not an option, North Korea will have to bear the consequences of its actions and provocations,” French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters. “France calls for the adoption as soon as possible of a new resolution.”
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters: “I think we should condemn it first of all and then we will see what we can do.”
Pyongyang has also carried out a string of ballistic missile tests this year in defiance of UN sanctions, which have all been condemned by the Security Council.
British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said there were a series of steps the Security Council could take to respond to Friday’s nuclear test and that Britain would like to see a combination of those steps imposed.
“First of all there must be full implementation of the existing sanctions, secondly there could be additional names added to the existing sanctions regime ... and thirdly there could be a tightening up and a strengthening of the sanctions regime,” Rycroft told reporters ahead of the council meeting.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned North Korea’s nuclear test as a “brazen breach” of UN Security Council resolutions.
“I count on the Security Council to remain united and take appropriate action. We must urgently break this accelerating spiral of escalation,” he told reporters.