World / Asia-Pacific

UN Security Council members seek more DPRK sanctions for missile launch

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-02-08 07:46

UNITED NATIONS -- Japan, South Korea and the United States on Sunday called for tougher sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) following an emergency session of the UN Security Council in response to Pyongyang's launch of a missile that it said carried an earth observation satellite.

In a statement read out by Ambassador Rafael Ramirez Carreno of Venezuela, this month's president of the 15-nation body, the Council "strongly condemned" North Korea's launch as it "contributes to DPRK's development of nuclear weapon delivery technology."

It vowed to "adopt expeditiously a new Security Council resolution" even though it has not yet adopted one condemning the test of a nuclear weapon last month. The DPRK is already under sanctions for violating previous council resolutions.

On Saturday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon deplored the launch. His spokesman, Stephan Dujarric, issued a statement saying, "The secretary-general reiterates his call on the DPRK to halt its provocative actions and return to compliance with its international obligations. He reaffirms his commitment to working with all sides in reducing tensions and achieving the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

"This outrage is based on the fact that this is a clear preparation for the long range missile itself, and it is a clear violation of the past Security Council resolutions," said Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa of Japan. "Business as usual will no longer apply. There have been many resolutions which have not been implemented by the DPRK."

Additionally, he said it is clearly a direct threat to the security of Japan, along with the Republic of Korea, and also countries like the Philippines whose so-called "drop zone" is in the vicinity. It is also the area where there is a "very dense maritime and air transportation."

Ambassador Samantha Power of the United States shared the microphone with Yoshikawa and Ambassador Joon Oh of South Korea, after the council statement to the press was read out.

"Pyongyang claims it launched what it called a peace earth observation satellite, but nobody is fooled," she said. "So-called space launch vehicles are the same technology as ballistic missiles, which are expressly prohibited by multiple Security Council resolutions."

"Each of these provocations, each of theses illegal actions, requires a robust response. Because of the DPRK's decisions and actions we will ensure that the Security Council imposes serious consequences," Power said.

"The goal of imposing sanctions has never been to target the North Korean people who have suffered unspeakable horrors inflicted by their own oppressive government - horrors that the United States has repeatedly urged this council to address," she said.

Ambassador Oh picked up on that theme.

"As a Korean it is sad and most pathetic to watch the staged celebrations on the streets of Pyongyang as I know that the cost of this launch alone, estimated to be close to one billion U.S. dollars, would have fed the entire North Korean population for a whole year," he said.

The Seoul envoy said it was clear the denuclearization dialogue with Pyongyang has only given it time to advance its nuke capabilities and "the current level of sanctions cannot put a brake on North Korea's nuclear weapons development." That means, "the only way to stop North Korea from going further down the nuclear path is to make it crystal clear to the regime that it has no option but to change."

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, cautioned reporters on his way out that with any new resolution authorizing tougher sanctions, "We should not be looking at an economic collapse of the DPRK."

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