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UN threatens North Korea with more sanctions

File photo of a UN Security Council session

The United Nations Security Council has threatened to impose more sanctions on North Korea in return for its “highly destabilizing” actions.

The Security Council issued a harshly-toned statement targeting Pyongyang on Thursday.

It said the North’s illegal tests of nuclear-capable missiles and nuclear activities "are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond." It also expressed "utmost concern" at Pyongyang's "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance" of six previous UN sanctions resolutions.

The council also threatened to take "further significant measures," a nickname for more sanctions.

The United States was earlier pushing the Security Council to issue the statement. Russia had objected to the language, urging that the statement leave room for dialog with the North Korean leadership.

Washington ultimately conceded to Moscow’s demand.

North Korea has so far conducted five confirmed nuclear tests and numerous missile test-launches. While it has not fired missiles against other countries, it has vowed strong action -- including missile attacks against South Korea -- if it is invaded by the South and the US.

The North faces international pressure to abandon its arms development and nuclear program. Yet, it says the nuclear and missile programs are meant to protect the country from US “hostility,” and has escalated the arms activities, including by announcing a declared priority to develop a hydrogen bomb.

This photo taken on February 12, 2017 and released on February 13 by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows the launch of a surface-to-surface medium long-range ballistic missile Pukguksong-2 at an undisclosed location. (Via AFP)

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The North's activities have even prompted China, its main ally, to sidle away from Pyongyang.

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