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S. Korea seeks U.N. resolution with military means against N. Korea
SEOUL, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is trying to convince the U.N. Security Council to punish North Korea for conducting its third nuclear test with a new resolution that would include a clause for enforcement of sanctions by military means, a senior Seoul diplomat said Friday.

   North Korea defied international warnings on Tuesday by detonating what it calls a miniaturized atomic device, drawing a chorus of worldwide condemnations and prompting the Security Council to start work on "appropriate measures" against the North's latest act of defiance.

   Articles 41 and 42 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter allow all U.N. members to enforce sanctions by military means, theoretically enabling their navy ships to intercept and board North Korean vessels suspected of carrying illicit weapons or nuclear or missile components.

   "Our basic target is to persuade the Security Council members to adopt a resolution including Chapter 7 against North Korea," said the diplomat, who has direct knowledge with the ongoing U.N. debate over the North's nuclear test.

   "The reason is that any sanctions against North Korea would be effective only if Chapter 7 is included in a resolution," the diplomat said on the condition of anonymity.

   The diplomat admitted that China, the North's last-remaining ally and one of the veto-wielding council members, has been opposed to including Chapter 7 in the new resolution.

   Resolutions approved under Chapter 7 can be enforced through military action, but China and Russia have opposed using Chapter 7 against North Korea and Iran because their nuclear programs have been subject to negotiations.

   Asked about whether China would eventually endorse a U.N. resolution using Chapter 7 against North Korea, the official replied, "It remains to be seen because a nuclear test is a completely different matter compared with long-range missile launches."

   South Korea is also hoping to convince the Security Council to adopt a resolution against North Korea by the end of this month, or before ending its rotating presidency of the Security Council, the diplomat said.

   "We are making utmost efforts to get the Security Council to pass a resolution against North Korea's third nuclear test by the end of this month," the diplomat said.

   North Korea is already one of the world's most heavily sanctioned nations because of its two previous nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

   North Korea argued this week's nuclear test was aimed at responding to U.N. sanctions imposed on the North after its long-range rocket launch in December.

   Pyongyang has blasted the U.S. for leading the sanctions at the Security Council and threatened to take a "merciless retaliatory" action if the U.S. moves to further toughen sanctions over the nuclear test.