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(2nd LD) U.N. Security Council hold urgent meeting over N.K. nuclear test

All Headlines 06:07 September 10, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with meeting beginning; ADDS comments from U.S. ambassador in paras 3-6)

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. Security Council held urgent consultations 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.

(2nd LD) U.N. Security Council 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 was expected to produce a statement condemning the nuclear test. Putting together new sanctions could take weeks to complete as a new sanctions package should win endorsement from China, the North's main benefactor and permanent council member with veto powers.

"Today the world is completely united in condemnation of the DPRK's fifth nuclear test," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power told reporters before heading into the council meeting. "This is more than brazen defiance. North Korea is seeking to perfect its nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles so they can hold the region and the world hostage under threat of nuclear strike."

Power said the council should "use every tool at its disposal to change North Korea's calculus."

"We know that divisions on the council only embolden the DPRK to further provocations. We must send a clear, united and strong message that the international community will never accept a nuclear North Korea," she said. "The council must take further decisive action that forces North Korea to change its calculus."

(2nd LD) U.N. Security Council 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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