South Korea today welcomed fresh UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea and warned Pyongyang against ignoring demands to scrap its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

The 15-nation council meeting in New York unanimously adopted yesterday a resolution that “condemned” North Korea’s rocket launch last month and threatened “significant action” if it stages a new nuclear test.

North Korea’s space agency, a bank, four trading companies and four individuals were added to an existing UN sanctions list for an assets freeze and travel ban.

In a statement, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry backed the resolution, saying it reflected the international community’s “shared concern” over the North’s December 12 rocket launch.

“North Korea must... fully abide by the UN Security Council resolution by scrapping all nuclear weapons and related programmes, and halting all activities associated with ballistic missile launches,” it said.

“It also must pay attention to the fact that the UN Security Council has said it would take significant action if it commits further provocative acts,” the statement added.

Last month, a US think-tank, citing satellite photos, said the North had repaired extensive rain damage at its nuclear test site in the northeast of the country and could conduct a detonation at two weeks’ notice.

North Korea insists that last month’s rocket launch was a peaceful, scientific mission aimed at putting a satellite in space.

The UN resolution condemned it as a disguised ballistic missile test that violated existing sanctions imposed after the North’s nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

North and South Korea are still technically at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty.

(This article was published on January 23, 2013)
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