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(LEAD) S. Korean FM says N. Korea will face 'unendurable' sanctions following new provocation

All News 10:35 April 13, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with additional remarks, more information and background in paras 7-9; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- North Korea will likely face a series of new sanctions it will find hard to endure should the communist state stage additional provocations in the future, Seoul's top diplomat said Thursday.

In a special report to the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, Foreign Ministry Yun Byung-se said China, Pyongyang's key ally, may also take part in additional sanctions against the North should it conduct a nuclear test or test-fire ballistic missiles.

"The U.N. Security Council already has the two most powerful sanctions resolutions against North Korea in place, and as the United States and China recently discussed, additional measures that will be difficult for North Korea to endure will be taken," the minister said when asked what Seoul planned to do following a North Korea nuclear test.

The North has conducted five nuclear tests so far, and is widely viewed as preparing for an additional test in the near future, possibly before the end of April.

Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se speaks in a meeting of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee held at the National Assembly in Seoul on April 13, 2017. (Yonhap)

Yun said new sanctions against the North may include measures which "have been reserved" or ones that require but "could not win China's cooperation."

The special committee hearing followed growing concerns here over a possible U.S. attack against the North. U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly noted all options were on the table in dealing with North Korea, and that his country may take unilateral measures to solve the problem with North Korean nuclear ambition.

In an apparent attempt to put pressure on Pyongyang, Washington has sent a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, to waters off the Korean Peninsula, further prompting suspicions here over an imminent pre-emptive strike against the North's nuclear capabilities.

The South Korean foreign minister insisted the United States' unilateral measures still required prior consultations with close allies, including Seoul.

"We will work to clearly show through talks between the countries' foreign and defense ministers and through a meeting with U.S. Vice President (Mike) Pence, who is due here this weekend, how thoroughly prepared South Korea is to defend itself and how well it can maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula," Yun told the meeting.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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