16 January 2013, 09:03

US pushing for hard sanctions against North Korea at UN

US pushing for hard sanctions against North Korea at UN

The United States is pushing hard for tough sanctions against North Korea, one of its top envoys for Asia said on Wednesday, although diplomats at the United Nations said it appeared unlikely that the North's ally, China, would support them.

Washington, along with South Korea, Japan and European Union states, want to punish North Korea for its December rocket launch with a United Nations Security Council resolution and tougher sanctions against Pyongyang.

Bejing is the North Korea's only major diplomatic ally. While it agreed to sanctions in the wake of North Korea's 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests, diplomats at the United Nations say China only wants a presidential statement to condemn the latest launch but would allow more names to be added to a UN blacklist.

North Korea is already banned under United Nations Security Council resolutions from developing nuclear and missile technology but has been working steadily on its nuclear test site, possibly in preparation for a third nuclear test, satellite images show.

December's successful long-range rocket launch, the first to put a satellite in orbit, was a coup for North Korea's young leader Kim Jong-un.

It raised tensions in East Asia at the same time as Japan and South Korea elected new leaders, who Washington want to mend relations after a dispute over an island claimed by both countries boiled over.

Voice of Russia, Reuters

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