SEOUL– South Korea is pursuing “powerful” punitive measures, including a new United Nations Security Council resolution, in response to Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test, the foreign ministry here said Tuesday.

The Seoul government is also seeking to strengthen coordination with the United States in the “peaceful pressure” campaign while encouraging China and Russia to play more constructive roles in resolving the nuclear stalemate, the ministry said in a report to lawmakers.

“We are considering powerful punitive measures including the adoption of a new Security Council resolution,” the report said. “In coordination with other major countries, we will make efforts to get a new resolution that has stronger elements than the existing ones.”

The North conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sunday, claiming that it tested a hydrogen bomb that can be fitted onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. Experts say that the explosion was around five to six times more powerful than the previous one carried out in September last year.

The international community is seeking to adopt a fresh sanctions resolution that would be more painful to the North. The U.S. and South Korea reportedly want the sanctions to include a cut-off of oil supplies to the North, though China appears reluctant to take such a measure that it worries would lead to the collapse of its neighbor.

North Korea imports around 90 percent of its oil and other fuel from China. The oil embargo has been cited as the last remaining effective way to bring the North out for denuclearization negotiation.

On Monday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in proposed in a phone conservation with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.N. Security Council hold serious discussions about the option.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley also made an appeal for the “strongest possible” sanctions against North Korea at an emergency meeting held in the wake of the North’s latest provocation.

During an emergency parliamentary session on the North Korea nuclear problem, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told lawmakers that stopping the oil supply to the North is “one of the important elements” being discussed as part of additional sanctions.

“It still remains to be seen in what way the oil supply issue will be reflected in a new resolution,” she said.

Meanwhile, the ministry said that the Sunday nuclear test appears to be part of Pyongyang’s decades-old nuclear development plan which it has been in pursuit of building atomic weapons, hydrogen bombs and satellites.

It also seems to be aimed at demonstrating its will not to give into pressure and sanctions from the international community, while trying to put pressure on the United States to change its approach toward the North through the “brinkmanship tactic.”

It emphasized the role of China and Russia in resolving the North’s nuclear issue.

In particular, the ministry said that South Korea should induce a constructive role from Russia by using President Moon’s visit to Vladivostok this week during which he is set to hold a summit with Putin.

 

 

Source: Yonhap News Agency