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(LEAD) U.N. Security Council to hold urgent meeting over N.K. nuclear test

All Headlines 02:34 September 10, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with Ban's press conference in paras 4-5; ADDS photos)

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Security Council was to hold an urgent meeting Friday to discuss how to respond to North Korea's fifth nuclear test, setting in motion a process to adopt powerful new sanctions punishing the communist regime.

(LEAD) U.N. Security Council to hold urgent meeting over N.K. nuclear test - 1

The U.S., South Korea and Japan requested Security Council discussions on the North right after the communist nation carried out the latest nuclear explosion on its founding anniversary earlier Friday, just eight months after its fourth test in January.

The council meeting is set to begin at 3 p.m., and the issue of North Korea is expected to be discussed beginning around 5 p.m., according to U.N. sources. Friday's meeting is expected to produce a statement condemning the nuclear test as it takes time to discuss new sanctions.

(LEAD) U.N. Security Council to hold urgent meeting over N.K. nuclear test - 2

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he condemns the North's nuclear test "in the strongest possible terms" as "yet another brazen breach of the resolutions of the Security Council. He also urged the Security Council to take "appropriate action."

"I count on the Security Council to remain united and take appropriate action. We must urgently break this accelerating spiral of escalation," Ban told reporters.

After the North's fourth nuclear test in January, the Security Council adopted the toughest-ever sanctions on the North, significantly tightening the screws on Pyongyang, including mandatory inspection of all cargo going in and out of the North and banning exports of coal and other mineral resources.

It was the fifth Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on the North.

The previous resolutions were adopted after the North's first nuclear test in 2006, its second nuclear test in 2009, its long-range rocket launch in late 2012 and its third nuclear test in early 2013.

Cooperation from China is key to the U.N. Security Council's push to adopt a new sanctions resolution as the country is one of the veto-holding permanent members of the Security Council, along with Britain, France, Russia and the U.S.

China is North Korea's top trading partner and supplies almost all of the isolated nation's energy needs, but analysts have long said Beijing fears that pushing Pyongyang too hard could lead to its collapse, instability on its border with China and the ultimate emergence of a pro-U.S. nation.
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