UN to take swift action against N. Korean rocket

September 23, 2015

SEOUL (Yonhap) — The U.N. Security Council will be quick in taking punitive steps against North Korea in case it launches a long-range rocket, a senior South Korean official said Wednesday.

He cited “close coordination” among key parties concerned — South Korea, the United States, China, Japan, and Russia.

If the North presses ahead with such a provocative act, the 15-member council is expected to convene immediately under the so-called trigger clause in previous resolutions, the official told reporters in a background briefing. It calls for “significant action” against Pyongyang’s long-range rocket launch or nuclear test.

“The first action will be to strongly condemn North Korea’s provocation and member states will hold additional consultations on the level of punishment,” he said. “Measures that can be considered include the expansion and toughening of sanctions.”

Currently, a dozen North Korean entities and 20 individuals are blacklisted for involvement in the communist nation’s weapons of mass destruction program.

The U.N. council will try to minimize direct impact to ordinary people in the impoverished nation, however, he added.

The North earlier said it would fire more long-range rockets as part of its space program. Many expect Pyongyang to do so on the occasion of the 70th founding anniversary of its communist party on Oct. 10.

In October, Spain will assume the rotating presidency of the U.N. council, followed by Britain in November and the U.S. the next month.

For South Korea, all of those are like-minded countries, the official pointed out.

When the North succeeded in a long-range rocket launch in late 2012, it took 41 days for the council to adopt a punitive resolution.