The UN Security Council has vowed to pursue new sanctions against North Korea after the reclusive country said on Wednesday it had successfully conducted a test on its first hydrogen bomb. In an emergency session, the council strongly condemned the nuclear test and said it would begin working immediately on a new resolution against Pyongyang, whose nuclear test claim sparked a global outcry even as some officials and experts voiced doubts over its validity.
The test was in violation of previous resolutions and “a clear threat to international peace and security continues to exist”, said the council, which started imposing economic and commercial sanctions on North Korea a decade ago because of its nuclear activity. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned North Korea’s announcement, calling it “profoundly destabilizing for regional security”. The international community must respond with “steadily increasing pressure” and rigorous enforcement of existing measures, said US Ambassador Samantha Power.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, said there is already a very strict sanctions regime against North Korea in place – although there are suspicions that some countries may not be fully enforcing it. “Beyond that, all on the Security Council, are aware of the need to tread carefully in order not to further provoke a leader [North Korea’s Kim Jong-un] who makes unpredictable, some would rash decisions, and holds a nuclear capability, however primitive.”
Meanwhile, South Korea said on Thursday it was limiting entry to the Kaesong industrial park, which is jointly run by the two countries, in response to the nuclear test. Later on, Seoul also announced that it would resume cross-border propaganda broadcasts that Pyongyang considers an act of war.