The United Nations Security Council meets behind closed doors on Friday to discuss condemning North Korea’s latest nuclear test and whether the 15-member body should punish the reclusive state with more sanctions, diplomats said.
North Korea conducted its fifth and biggest nuclear test on Friday and said it had mastered the ability to mount a warhead on a ballistic missile, ratcheting up a threat that its rivals and the United Nations have been powerless to contain.
“I think we should condemn it first of all and then we will see what we can do,” Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters.
North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 and analysts of the Korean peninsula said sanctions have been imposed on almost everything possible. In March, the Security Council tightened sanctions to further isolate impoverished North Korea in response to its fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February.
Pyongyang has also carried out a string of ballistic missile tests this year in defiance of U.N. sanctions, which have all been condemned by the Security Council.
In the unanimously adopted March resolution, the council expressed “its determination to take further significant measures in the event of a further DPRK (North Korea) nuclear test or launch.”
British U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said there were a series of steps the Security Council could take to respond to Friday’s nuclear test.
“First of all there must be full implementation of the existing sanctions, secondly there could be additional names added to the existing sanctions regime … and thirdly there could be a tightening up and a strengthening of the sanctions regime,” Rycroft told reporters ahead of the council meeting.