The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously condemned North Korea’s rocket launch last month and expanded existing UN sanctions, causing Pyongyang to vow to boost the North’s military and nuclear capabilities.
While the resolution approved by the 15-nation council does not impose new sanctions on Pyongyang, diplomats said Beijing’s support for it was a significant diplomatic blow to Pyongyang.
The resolution said the council “deplores the violations” by North Korea of previous sanctions, which banned Pyongyang from conducting further ballistic missile and nuclear tests and from importing materials and technology for those programs.
It also said that the council “expresses its determination to take significant action in the event of a further DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea] launch or nuclear test.”
The resolution added six North Korean entities, including Pyongyang’s space agency, the Korean Committee for Space Technology and the man heading it, Paek Chang-ho, to an existing UN blacklist.
The firms and individuals will all face an international asset freeze, while Paek and the others blacklisted will face a global travel ban.
US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice welcomed the resolution, saying it imposed “new sanctions.”
However, other diplomats said that describing the measures as new sanctions would be an exaggeration.
China, the North’s only major diplomatic ally, on Monday said the council needed to pass a cautious resolution on North Korea, adding that this was the best way to ensure regional tensions did not escalate.
“Sanctions and resolutions alone do not work,” Xinhua quoted Chinese Ambassador to the UN Li Baodong (李保東) as saying. “Resolutions must be completed and supplemented by diplomatic efforts.”
North Korea reacted quickly, saying it would hold no more talks on the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and would boost its military and nuclear capabilities.
“We will take measures to boost and strengthen our defensive military power including nuclear deterrence,” the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.
The US’ special envoy on North Korea, Glyn Davies, who was in Seoul yesterday to meet his South Korean counterparts, urged Pyongyang to back down from further provocative actions, but left the door open for dialogue.
Six-party talks aimed at halting North Korea’s nuclear program have involved North Korea, the US, China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, but have stalled since 2008.
Seoul says the North is technically ready for a third nuclear test and satellite images show it is actively working on its nuclear site.