Seoul: Washington will use all available means outside the UN Security Council to isolate North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme and counter its growing threat to world order, the US envoy to the United Nations said on Sunday.
The United States will also use its military as a deterrent to the North's threat, Ambassador Samantha Power told a news conference in Seoul, after visiting the heavily armed Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) border between the rival Koreas.
"While Security Council resolutions are one tool in our tool box ... we are committed to using all the tools in our tool kit to address this serious threat including the diplomatic pressure that we are mobilising around the world to convince other nations to isolate the regime," Power said.
Power's visit to the region, which included a stop in Tokyo last week, comes amid a push for tougher Security Council sanctions after the North's fifth nuclear test last month in defiance of a series of UN resolutions. The United States and South Korea have been pushing governments around the world to take unilateral action including discouraging countries from using North Korean workers and ending visa waivers for North Koreans. North Korea conducted its fifth and biggest nuclear test on September 9 and South Korea has said it believes the North is ready to conduct another test at any time. An increase in activity at the North's nuclear test site could signal preparations for a new test, a US-based monitoring group, 38 North, said on Friday.
The 38 North group, run by Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, said satellite images taken on October 1 show increased activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, including crates on the launch pad and vehicles near the fuel and oxidizer buildings. But it added that since some of the structures on the launch pad are covered, "it is unclear whether this activity is related to launch preparations or other operations."
There has been speculation that Pyongyang could mark the October 10 anniversary of the founding of its Workers' Party with a sixth detonation. North Korea has been testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at an unprecedented rate this year under leader Kim Jong Un's direction, including the launch of a satellite in February that was widely seen as a test of long-range ballistic missile technology. The Sohae centre is the North's newly upgraded rocket station where the February satellite launch and other rocket tests have been conducted. On Friday, 38 North said an increase in activity at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site could signal preparations for a new test or a collection of data from its last one. North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006 and has since defied U.N. sanctions to press ahead with the development of the weapons and missiles to carry them, which it says it needs for defence. In January, it conducted its fourth nuclear test and the fifth was carried out on the anniversary of the nation's founding.