United Nations, June 1
The United States has said it will push for additional sanctions on North Korea if it conducts a new nuclear test explosion.
US, South Korean and Japanese officials have said North Korea could soon conduct its first nuclear test in nearly five years.
On Thursday, China and Russia vetoed a UN resolution sponsored by the United States that would have imposed tough new sanctions on North Korea for a spate of launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles that can be used to deliver nuclear warheads. The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 13-2 and marked a first serious division among the five veto-wielding permanent members over a North Korea sanctions resolution.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was asked on Tuesday whether the US would seek new sanctions if the North conducted another nuclear test. “We absolutely will,” she said.
A united Security Council imposed sanctions after North Korea’s first nuclear test explosion in 2006 and tightened them over the years in a total of 10 resolutions seeking — so far unsuccessfully — to rein in its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes by cutting its sources of revenue.
Last Wednesday, North Korea launched its 17th round of missiles this year, an escalation of weapons tests that experts have said is part of leader Kim Jong Un’s efforts to expand the country’s arsenal and apply more pressure on its rivals to obtain relief from current sanctions and other concessions.