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North Korea is 'begging for war': US steps up pressure on Kim Jong-un at UN

Members of the UN Security Council are calling for further sanctions against North Korea as the state claims it detonated a hydrogen bomb yesterday.

The US ambassador to the UN called for the strongest diplomatic measures
The US ambassador to the UN called for the strongest diplomatic measures
Image: Bebeto Matthews

Updated at 7.55pm

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN Affairs Simon Coveney has expressed “deep concern” that North Korea tested a nuclear weapon yesterday.

Speaking after North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb underground yesterday, Coveney said:

“This further test of another nuclear explosive device by North Korea represents a real threat to peace and security in the region and beyond.

“It is a flagrant and provocative violation of the DPRK’s (Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea) international obligations not to produce or test nuclear weapons. I unreservedly condemn such actions.”

The North trumpeted “perfect success” yesterday in its sixth nuclear test blast since 2006.

“I urge all states who have not already done so to ratify the Treaty without delay so that the global disarmament and non-proliferation architecture can be strengthened and the global norm against testing reinforced,” Coveney said.

I call on North Korea to abandon its programmes to develop ballistic missiles, nuclear capabilities and weapons of mass destruction in a manner that is complete, verifiable and irreversible.

‘Begging for war’

Coveney’s comments came after United Nations Security Council members called for further sanctions against North Korea today after a powerful nuclear test explosion added another layer of urgency for diplomats wrestling with what to do about the North’s persistent weapons programmes.

The emergency session comes six days after the council strongly condemned Pyongyang’s “outrageous” launch of a ballistic missile over Japan. Less than a month ago, the council imposed its stiffest sanctions so far on the reclusive nation.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said North Korea’s relentless actions show that its leader, Kim Jong-un, is “begging for war”, and the time has come for the council to adopt the strongest diplomatic measures.

Enough is enough. War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited.

Speaking one after the other, diplomats from France, Britain, Italy and elsewhere reiterated demands for the regime to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and urged further sanctions.

“Pyongyang poses a clear threat to international peace and security,” said Sebastiano Cardi, the UN ambassador from Italy, which heads the North Korea sanctions compliance committee. He noted that North Korea is the only country to have tested a nuclear device in the 21st century.

Today’s Security Council meeting was requested by the US, Japan, France, Britain and South Korea.

“We cannot waste any more time. And in order to do that, we need North Korea to feel the pressure, but if they go down this road there will be consequences,” Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho told reporters ahead of the council meeting.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said France was calling for the adoption of new UN sanctions, swift implementation of existing ones and new separate sanctions by the EU.

[image alt="North Korea Tensions" src="http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2017/09/north-korea-tensions-296x196.jpg" width="296" height="196" title="" class="alignnone" /end]

The council aimed to take a big bite out of the North Korean economy earlier this month by banning the North from exporting coal, iron, lead and seafood products. Together those are worth about a third of the country’s $3 billion in exports last year.

The council could look to sanction other profitable North Korean exports, such as textiles. Another possibility could be tighter limits on North Korean labourers abroad – the recent sanctions barred giving any new permits for such workers. The US also suggested some other ideas earlier this summer, including air and maritime restrictions and restricting oil to North Korea’s military and weapons programs.

However, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council that “addressing the issues plaguing the [Korean] Peninsula through sanction pressure alone is impossible” because “that path does not propose any options for engaging [North Korea] in constructive negotiations”.

Russia and China have both proposed a two-pronged approach: North Korea would suspend its nuclear and missile development, and the US and South Korea would suspend their joint military exercises, which they say are defensive but Pyongyang views as a rehearsal for invasion. The North recently requested a Security Council meeting about the war games.

Washington says there is no comparison between its openly conducted, internationally monitored military drills and North Korea’s weapons programmes, which the international community has banned.

Neither North Korea nor South Korea is a Security Council member.

With reporting by Associated Press

Read: South Korea now believes the North can fit a nuclear weapon onto a missile >

Read: ‘Very hostile and dangerous’: Donald Trump condemns North Korea’s sixth nuclear test >

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