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SKorea welcomes tougher sanctions against NKorea

world Updated: Jun 13, 2009 07:44 IST
SKorea welcomes tougher sanctions against NKorea

South Korea on Saturday welcomed tougher sanctions slapped on North Korea by the United Nations, urging the communist state to abolish all of its nuclear programmes.

All 15 members of the UN Security Council endorsed a compromise resolution sponsored by Britain, France, Japan, South Korea and the United States to punish Pyongyang for its missile firings and last month's nuclear test.

"The government welcomes and supports the unanimous adoption of additional sanctions against North Korea by the UN Security Council," Seoul's foreign ministry said in a statement.

It said the move reflected the council's "unified and firm resolution" to tackle the North's nuclear development and nuclear proliferation.

"The government urges North Korea to accept this clear and stern message from the international community, dismantle all its nuclear programmes and stop all activity related to ballistic missiles," it said.

The statement also called on the North to stop "provocative acts" and return to six-party disarmament talks at an early date.

The communist North earlier warned it could take additional "self-defence measures" in response to any fresh sanctions.

Analysts say the measures from Pyongyang could include a third nuclear test, the production of more nuclear weapons and the firing of long-range missiles.

Resolution 1874, which does not authorise the use of force, calls on UN member states to expand sanctions first imposed on North Korea after its first nuclear test in 2006.

It calls for tougher inspections of cargo suspected of containing banned items related to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile activities, a tighter arms embargo with the exception of light weapons, and new targeted financial restrictions to choke off an important source of revenue for Pyongyang's nuclear and missile sectors.

North Korea launched a long-range missile in April, which was roundly condemned by the Security Council. Pyongyang then retaliated by announcing on May 25 that it had staged a second nuclear weapons test, following one in 2006.

It has also declared the armistice ending the 1950-53 Korean War as void.

Military officials said on Friday that South Korea has sent hundreds more Marines to its tense border with North Korea.

The Marines were sent last week to two islands along the disputed Yellow Sea border, the scene of bloody naval battles in 1999 and 2002, a Marine Corps source told AFP.

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