US,China agree to UN sanctions draft after n-test

China’s support is considered vital for global actions against North Korea

Written by Associated Press | United Nations | Published: March 6, 2013 1:04 am

A US-China draft resolution to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test would impose some of the toughest sanctions ever ordered by the United Nations,US Ambassador Susan Rice said Tuesday.

Rice circulated the draft to Security Council members Tuesday. She told reporters that “the breadth and scope of these sanctions is exceptional” and that they would further impede the growth of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programmes.

“We hope for a unanimous adoption later this week” Rice said.

The fourth sanctions resolution would for the first time target illicit activities of North Korean diplomats and illicit banking relationships and cash transfers,Rice said. The resolution pledges to take further measures if North Korea carries out another missile launch or nuclear test,she added.

Hours before the UN meeting,Pyongyang threatened to cancel the 1953 ceasefire that ended the Korean War,as tensions on the Korean Peninsula soared again over the February nuclear test.

Any fresh international sanctions are certain to infuriate North Korea,which has claimed the right to build nuclear weapons to deter alleged US aggression.

Citing the US-led push for sanctions,the Korean People’s Army Supreme Command on Tuesday warned of “surgical strikes” meant to unify the divided Korean Peninsula and of an indigenous,“precision nuclear striking tool.”

China is North Korea’s closest ally,but it has indicated it is concerned about its behavior.

Hours after North Korea carried out its third atomic blast on February 12,all 15 council members approved a press statement condemning the nuclear test and pledging further action. The swift,unanimous response from the UN’s most powerful body set the stage for a fourth round of sanctions.

North Korea’s neighbors and the West condemn the North’s efforts to develop nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States as a serious threat to Northeast Asia’s delicate security and a drain on the precious resources that could go to North Korea’s largely destitute people.

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