(ATTN: ADDS defense ministers' phone talks, N. Korean response at bottom)
SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will seek support in the coming weeks for a new set of sanctions by the United Nations in response to North Korea's latest nuclear test by stressing that concerted and stronger sanctions by the international community are necessary to deter Pyongyang's nuclear threat, Seoul's foreign ministry said Saturday.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is scheduled to attend the week-long U.N. General Assembly meeting that starts on Sept. 17 where he will urge cooperation in formulating a new set of U.N. Security Council-led sanctions against the communist state.
During his stay in New York, the country's top diplomat will hold a meeting with his counterparts from the U.S. and Japan to discuss how to impose stronger sanctions on Pyongyang, the ministry said. Yun is also to deliver a speech at the U.N. General Assembly meeting on Sept. 23.
Meanwhile, Yun has asked for cooperation from France in orchestrating new U.N.-led sanctions against North Korea's fifth and largest-ever nuclear test in defiance of continued calls from the international community to stop its nuclear program.
He talked with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault on the phone on Friday and demanded the U.N. Security Council to join a cooperative move to enact additional bold, strong sanctions in response to the latest provocation by Pyongyang, according to the ministry.
Yun expressed hopes that France, a permanent member of the U.S. Security Council, would actively engage in enacting strong resolutions against the North's nuclear threats. The South Korean minister also demanded France and the European Union make concerted efforts to impose sanctions against North Korea in close cooperation with Seoul.
The phone call was made hours after a magnitude 5 earthquake was detected at North Korea's nuclear test site in its northeastern region at around 9:30 a.m. on Friday.
The North later confirmed that it successfully conducted a nuclear detonation test, sending political ripples through the international community.
The South Korean minister emphasized that Friday's nuclear test by Pyongyang is a crucial violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270, calling the nuclear fiasco "a grave provocation."
In addition, Yun hoped that strong South Korea-France ties will lead to a solution to handling human rights infringement issues in North Korea.
The U.N. Security Council has expressed strong condemnation of North Korea's latest nuclear test. The Council proclaimed to immediately set out preparations for putting together a new resolution of sanctions against the communist nation.
On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama also condemned the North Korean nuclear test, restating to South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe "the unshakable U.S. commitment" to take the necessary steps to defend U.S. allies, including by deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in South Korea to provide extended deterrence against the North Korean use of nuclear threats.
South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo also held a phone conversation with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, agreeing to strengthen cooperation in sanctioning North Korea.
During a phone conversation late Friday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter stressed the "ironclad" alliance among the U.S. and its allies including South Korea, pointing at various means such as the nuclear umbrella, traditional deterrents and missile defense measures that can deter North Korean nuclear ambitions, according to the defense ministry here.
Earlier in the day, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan held a three-party video conference to discuss ways to beef up cooperative measures and the mutual exchange of information regarding North Korea.
Despite rising anxious calls to deter North Korean nuclear ambitions among international community members, the communist's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam has vowed that the reclusive country will increase its presence in international society to meet its "status as a nuclear power," according to the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Kim, the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), said "(North Korea) will secure the world peace and safety and continue to expand and develop international relations in a way that fits its status as a nuclear powerhouse," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The remarks were made in a celebratory address at a banquet marking the 68th anniversary of the regime's foundation.
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