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U.N. Security Council agrees on tougher N. Korea sanctions

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 11, 2009

NEW YORK (CNN) — The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have agreed on a resolution that would expand and tighten sanctions on North Korea, two senior Western diplomats at the United Nations said Wednesday.

The permanent members — China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States — reached the agreement in consultation with Japan and South Korea.

The council began discussions late Wednesday morning. A vote is possible Thursday or Friday, according to several diplomats, including French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert.

The agreement comes amid rising tension with North Korea, which recently conducted a nuclear test, fired test rockets, and threatened U.S. and South Korean ships near its territorial waters. The nuclear test and the firing of six short-range rockets same in late May.

Pyongyang’s actions violated U.N. resolutions. 

Adding another wrinkle to the situation, two American journalists arrested in North Korea were convicted Monday of illegal entry to the country and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Late last month, two Defense Department officials said U.S. satellite imagery spotted “vehicle activity” at a North Korean ballistic missile facility. The officials said the images showed vehicles used to transport Taepodong-2 missiles, but no missile parts. The Taepodong-2 is a long-range missile that was tested earlier this year by North Korea.

That test, in April, showed a significant improvement in range from North Korea’s initial long-range missile test in 2006.

President Obama’s special envoy to the secretive communist state, Stephen Bosworth, called “simply groundless” accusations by Pyongyang that its nuclear and missile tests were in response to American aggression.

Washington officials have said the United States’ goal is for North Korea to return to nuclear negotiations with the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia, known as the “six-party talks.”

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