United Nations seeks new sanctions on North Korea after nuclear test

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Zhang Liangui, a North Korea expert at the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China, said that Beijing would likely adopt any new sanctions that the United Nations chose to adopt against North Korea following the test.

The UN Security Council agreed on Friday immediately to begin work on a new series of sanctions.

The measures will be under Article 41 of the UN Charter, which specifies non-military actions including sanctions.

The US and France urged the Council members to push ahead with new sanctions against North Korea, saying its repeated tests show "complete disregard" for global law.

The ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters that a senior official will lodge representation with South Korea. "North Korea is seeking to flawless its nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles so they can hold the region and the world hostage under threat of nuclear strikes". US ambassador Samantha Power urged the council to vigorously promote implementation of four previous sanctions resolutions "to demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences for its unlawful and risky actions".

The 15-member powerful United Nations body held urgent consultations here yesterday to address the "serious situation" arising from Korea's atomic test - believed to be its most powerful ever.

Its continued testing despite sanctions presents a severe challenge to Obama in the final months of his presidency and could become a factor in the USA presidential election in November.

"High time for switching gear in nuclear deterrence against North", read its front-page headline. In March, the Security Council tightened sanctions to further isolate the impoverished country after its fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February. In that piece, he said he'd bomb North Korea if it didn't give up its nuclear ambitions.

More importantly, the North claimed it had successfully tested a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a missile.

In Seoul, dozens of protesters burned an effigy of the North's leader Kim Jong-Un and called for "strong retaliation", including pre-emptive attacks on the North's nuclear complex. "We must urgently break this accelerating spiral of escalation".

Specifically, he wants the Obama administration to use the greater authority his legislation provides, such as imposing penalties on businesses, such as Chinese banks, and individuals that do business with North Korea. That diverged from calls by the United States, Japan and South Korea to escalate pressure on the North, signaling it may prove a challenge for the Security Council to come to an agreement on new sanctions.

"It has been described as maniacal by the South Korean president and it's hard to disagree with that".

This test, portrayed as an overwhelming success, could allow the North to turn more attention to its moribund economy and a population that often struggles to find enough to eat.

North Korea said no radioactive material leaked, but the explosion put the region on edge.

But Pyongyang also has a highly enriched uranium program, which is much more easily concealed and which outsiders know very little about; if that program is advanced, the North could have much more fuel for bomb-building.

North Korea has canceled several planned visits by the secretary-general at the last minute, and under current circumstances he doesn't see another opportunity before his term ends.

The latest test was announced on state TV hours after a 5.3 magnitude tremor was detected near the Punggye-ri underground nuclear site.

North Korean leader Kim has overseen a robust increase in the number and kinds of missiles tested this year.

That proposal, analysts and administration officials point out, would mean dispensing with the US security umbrella that has been key to stability in Asia since the end of World War II.

The commentary took issue with her recent condemnation, during talks with US President Barack Obama, of the North's ballistic missile test-launches. South Korea will hold presidential elections next year.

But North Korea has vowed to pursue both nuclear and economic development.

North Korea has been hit by five sets of United Nations sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006. It marks one more step in North Korea's efforts to develop the missiles and miniaturized warheads needed to reach its perceived enemies.

Diplomacy has so far failed.