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Philip Hammond threatens North Korea with more sanctions after rocket test

Published 07/02/2016

A South Korean TV news programme with file footage about North Korea's rocket launch (AP)
A South Korean TV news programme with file footage about North Korea's rocket launch (AP)

North Korea could face further sanctions after launching a long-range rocket, Philip Hammond said, as the Foreign Office summoned Pyongyang's ambassador in London for a dressing down.

The Foreign Secretary warned that North Korea's nuclear ambitions present a "threat to regional and international security".

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency session and will "expeditiously" adopt a new resolution in response to the "dangerous and serious violations" by Pyongyang.

Setting out the UK's response, Mr Hammond said: "We will work with other partners, we have already strongly condemned North Korea's actions, we will be taking appropriate bilateral steps - summoning the North Korean ambassador as we always do when they carry out one of these tests.

"But we will be working with other partners, particularly the US, Japan, South Korea, in the United Nations, to take additional steps, additional measures against North Korea, stepping up the pressure on that country."

He added: "We are all focused on looking at additional economic sanctions which could be applied against North Korea."

Mr Hammond said the latest test did not mark a change in approach from North Korea, but was a continuation of "destabilising" behaviour.

North Korea under leader Kim Jong Un has pledged to bolster its nuclear arsenal unless Washington scraps what Pyongyang calls a hostile policy meant to collapse its government.

Mr Hammond said Beijing's response would be crucial to putting pressure on North Korea to change course.

China, normally North Korea's main ally, responded to the launch with a rare show of criticism of the country.

Mr Hammond said: "What we will be doing, the United States and Japan will be doing, is seeking to persuade the Chinese that it's in the interests of all the international community now to apply some more direct economic pressure on North Korea at this point."

Pyongyang defied international warnings in going ahead with the launch just over a month after the secretive state carried out what it claimed was its first successful test of a hydrogen bomb.

Following the Security Council talks, the Venezuelan representative Rafael Dario Ramirez Carreno said the international community had vowed to develop "significant measures" in response to the earlier test.

"In line with this commitment and the gravity of this most recent violation, the members of the Security Council will adopt expeditiously a new Security Council resolution with such measures in response to these dangerous and serious violations," he said.

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