North Korea says Washington and others are going beyond mere economic sanctions and expanding into blunt aggression and military acts.
In Seoul, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday that “considerable progress” has been made in the Security Council on how to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test. However, spokesman Cho Tai-young told reporters he couldn’t disclose any details of the draft resolution because no final agreement has been reached.
Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, whose country holds the Security Council presidency this month, told a news conference Monday that a resolution on North Korea might be approved in March, though the text had not yet been circulated.
Last month’s statement from the Security Council called the underground test in February a “grave violation” of three U.N. resolutions that ban North Korea from conducting nuclear or missile tests.
North Korea’s three nuclear tests — in 2006, 2009 and 2013 — occurred after Pyongyang was condemned by the United Nations for rocket launches.
The Security Council imposed sanctions after the first two nuclear tests and after the North’s rocket launch in December, which was viewed as part of the country’s covert program to develop ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.
The North’s latest nuclear test was seen as a crucial step toward its goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on a missile capable of striking the United States. Many outside analysts still believe the North hasn’t achieved such a miniaturization technology.
The sanctions have been aimed at trying to derail the country’s rogue nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. They bar North Korea from testing or using nuclear or ballistic missile technology, and from importing or exporting material for these programs.
The latest sanctions resolution, adopted in January, again demanded that North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons program and cease missile launches. It slapped sanctions on North Korean companies and government agencies, including its space agency and several individuals.
There has been speculation that a new resolution will strengthen existing sanctions related to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, toughen financial restrictions and cargo inspections, and add additional companies and individuals to the sanctions list.