The UN Security Council agreed on Wednesday to roll out new measures to punish North Korea after its shock announcement of a hydrogen bomb test triggered global concern and condemnation.
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|The Comprensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation's monitoring stations picked up "unusual seismic event" in N Korea on 6 January 2016 |
Although officials and experts were highly sceptical of the claim it was a sophisticated H-bomb, the latest test provided unnerving proof -- if proof were still needed -- of North Korea`s commitment to developing advanced nuclear weapons capability.
With backing from China, Pyongyang`s sole major ally, the 15-member council strongly condemned the test and said it would begin work on a new UN draft resolution that would contain "further significant measures".
UN diplomats confirmed that talks were under way on strengthening several sets of sanctions that have been imposed on secretive North Korea since it first tested an atomic device in 2006.
"I demand the DPRK cease any further nuclear activities," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, echoing international condemnation of the test voiced not just by the North`s traditional adversaries like the United States and South Korea, but also allies like China.
The censure and sanctions threats had a familiar ring, given similar outrage that greeted the North`s previous tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013, and some voices stressed the need to find a strategy that combined coercion with negotiation.
"A priority must be to find ways to both further pressure North Korea to limit its nuclear weapons capabilities and engage it diplomatically," said David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security.
But in South Korea, the response was uncompromising, with President Park Geun-Hye calling for a strong international response to what she called a "grave provocation."