UNSC pledges action to halt North Korean nuke advances



UNSC pledges action to halt North Korean nuke advances Zeenews Bureau

United Nations: Reacting strongly to North Korea’s controversial third nuke test, the United Nation Security Council condemned Pyongyang and called for strict actions to curb the Hermit Kingdom’s nuclear ambitions.

Calling the nuke test as a “threat to international peace and security", the 15-member strong UNSC on Tuesday, vowed "significant action" in a new resolution against North Korea.

US called the test as highly provocative while China, Pyongyang’s ally too, said it was “dissatisfied”.

"The members of the Security Council strongly condemned this test, which is a grave violation of Security Council resolution 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009) and 2087 (2013), and therefore there continues to exist a clear threat to international peace and security," said a statement by South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan.

All 15 council members approved the press statement hours after the latest underground test. The statement called the atomic blast a "grave violation" of three UN resolutions that ban North Korea from conducting nuclear or missile tests.

The swift and unanimous response from the UN's most powerful body set the stage for a fourth round of sanctions against Pyongyang.

The language in the statement was stronger than the Security Council's initial reaction to North Korea's two previous nuclear tests and its most recent rocket launch. Diplomats said it reflects the growing anger at Pyongyang's continuing defiance of the council and the sanctions resolutions.

How tough the new sanctions will be will depend largely on China, North Korea's main trading partner. China has voted for the three previous sanctions resolutions but has resisted measures that would cut off the country's economy completely.

US Ambassador Susan Rice said a number of new measures to tighten and expand the existing sanctions regime will be discussed with council members and other concerned countries in the coming days. She added in response to a question that financial sanctions would be "right for appropriate further action."

Tuesday's nuclear test followed a familiar North Korean pattern. Pyongyang conducted its first two nuclear weapons tests weeks after rocket launches in 2006 and 2009, and this third test followed a rocket launch in December that the UN and the US called a cover for a banned long-range missile test.

The Security Council noted that last month, in a resolution that strengthened sanctions in response to the December missile test, its members promised to take "significant action" in the event of a new nuclear test.

"In line with this commitment and the gravity of this violation, the members of the Security Council will begin work immediately on appropriate measures in a Security Council resolution," the council said.

The statement was read by South Korea Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, whose country holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month. South Korea was elected to the council for a two-year term starting in January.

"North Korea will be held responsible for any consequences of this provocative act," Kim told reporters later.

Rice called the test "highly provocative" and said the North's continued work on its nuclear and missile programs threatens regional and international peace and "the security of a number of countries including the United States."

"They will not be tolerated," she said, "and they will be met with North Korea's increasing isolation and pressure under United Nations sanctions."

"The U.N. Security Council must and will deliver a swift, credible and strong response by way of a Security Council resolution that further impedes the growth of DPRK's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs and its ability to engage in proliferation activity," Rice said, using the initials of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the council statement and said he was encouraged by "the swift and overwhelming international condemnation of this wanton act."

With Agency Inputs