UN Security Council vows sanctions over N. Korea missile test

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test and vowed strong measures, including sanctions.

North Korea’s long-term bid to develop a credible nuclear attack threat to the US mainland saw it launch Sunday what appeared to be its longest-range missile yet.

Pyongyang said the new weapon — called the Hwasong-12 — was capable of carrying a “heavy nuclear warhead”.

In a unanimous statement backed by the North’s main ally China, the council on Monday vowed to punish Pyongyang’s “highly destabilizing behavior” and demanded a halt to any further nuclear or missile tests.

Pyongyang carried out two atomic tests last year, and has accelerated its missile launch program, despite tough UN sanctions aimed at denying leader Kim Jong-Un the hard currency needed to fund his weapons ambitions.

“There’s a lot of sanctions left that we can start to do, whether it’s with oil, whether it’s with energy, whether it’s with their maritime ships, exports,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley told ABC television’s “This Week”.

“We can do a lot of different things that we haven’t done yet. So our options are there.”

The United States is in talks with China — Pyongyang’s main trading partner — on a possible new sanctions resolution and the Security Council is expected to hold a closed-door emergency meeting starting around 2000 GMT Tuesday.

Kim personally oversaw Sunday’s test, the official Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) said, and pictures by state media showed him gazing at the missile in a hangar before the launch.

The missile was launched on an unusually high trajectory, before splashing down in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

Analysts said the test suggested an actual range of 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) or more if flown for maximum distance.