UN Security Council vows new sanctions after N Korea's rocket launch
February 7, 2016 5:26 pm
The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket.
After an urgent meeting in New York, the council said it would soon adopt a new sanctions resolution in response.
Pyongyang said it fired the rocket to place a satellite in orbit – but critics believe the real purpose was to test a ballistic missile.
Sunday’s launch comes weeks after North Korea held a fourth nuclear test – both acts violate UN resolutions.
Speaking after the closed-door talks, Venezuela’s UN envoy Rafael Ramirez, the current council president, said: “The members of the Security Council strongly condemn this launch.”
He called it “a serious violation of the Security Council resolution”.
o business as usual," she said, adding that “we’ll come up with something tough”.
Ms Power’s words were echoed by Japanese envoy Motohide Yoshikawa, who said sanctions must be strengthened.
“The existing sanctions have not stopped North Korea from developing nuclear weapons,” he said.
The council meeting was requested by South Korea, Japan and the US.
The question once asked by a British tabloid – How Do you solve a problem like Korea? – still has not been answered.
The UN Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions since North Korea carried out its first atomic test almost 10 years ago.
They have included arms embargos, asset freezes, travel bans and restrictions on luxury goods, aimed at hitting Pyongyang’s elites where it hurts – in their lavish lifestyles.
Now the US is pressing at the Security Council for tough and comprehensive new sanctions, but they’re being resisted by China, Pyongyang’s closest ally and biggest trading partner.
The launch of the rocket was hailed by North Korean media as a “fascinating vapour… trailing in the clear and blue sky in spring of February on the threshold of the Day of the Shining Star”.
A statement said a new Earth observation satellite, Kwangmyongsong-4, had successfully been put into orbit less than 10 minutes after lift-off from the Sohae space centre in North Phyongan province.
The payload was presumed to weigh 200kg (440lbs), double the size of the one launched in 2012, but much lighter than the 800-1,500kg usual for a satellite.
The MPs were also reportedly told that North Korea had the technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles and was preparing a fifth nuclear test.
North Korea last fired a long-range rocket in 2012 to put, what it said was, a communications satellite into orbit. But experts say no signal has ever been detected.
UN Security Council resolutions ban the state from carrying out any nuclear or ballistic missile tests.
The North insists its space programme is purely scientific in nature but the US, South Korea and even China say the rocket launches are aimed at developing inter-continental ballistic missiles.