UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council is due to meet on Wednesday at the request of the United States to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launches, diplomats said, as Washington pushes the 15-member body to strengthen sanctions on Pyongyang.
North Korea fired a ballistic missile from a submarine on Saturday, South Korea said, the latest in a string of ballistic missile launches, which are banned by the U.N. Security Council.
The United States has also assessed that North Korea could be ready to conduct a nuclear test as early as this month.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the United States would like the Security Council to vote during May to further sanction North Korea. However, veto-powers China and Russia have signaled they are opposed to further action.
North Korea has been subjected to U.N. sanctions since 2006, which the U.N. Security Council has steadily stepped up over the years in a bid to cut off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
But the hermit Asian state has successfully worked to evade some U.N. sanctions, according to independent U.N. sanctions monitors, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month pledged to speed up development of his country’s nuclear arsenal.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Nick Macfie)