Seoul’s foreign ministry was cited by local news agency Yonhap as maintaining that it would “seek support in the coming weeks” for strengthened sanctions.
The move comes just months after the UNSC imposed its last set of economic restrictions against the North in March, following which the reclusive state carried on with a series of banned ballistic missile tests.
The ministry made its position clear after dissenting voices suggested that a different approach is needed in the wake of five North Korean nuclear tests in a decade.
Influential ruling party lawmaker Won Yoo-chul said Friday that the North’s latest test earlier in the day “proves that we cannot curb Pyongyang's nuke tests and missile provocations only by international sanctions”.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is set to speak at the U.N. General Assembly later this month in an effort to influence the UNSC’s next move in favor of sanctions, echoing calls from President Park Geun-hye following Friday’s test.
Their stance is very much in line with a statement out of New York Friday, when the UNSC “strongly condemned” North Korea’s behavior and promised to work on a new resolution -- implying that veto-wielding council member China will hold true to its word by pressuring its old ally.
Analysts have long been skeptical about Beijing offering full support for any move that would risk toppling Pyongyang’s authoritarian regime, given the dangers that might bring to China’s doorstep.
Won’s alternative suggestion along with around 20 other conservative lawmakers is for South Korea to take up its own nuclear arms, which would fly in the face of Seoul’s agreement with the United States that affords American protection.
But the Park administration is prepared to take military action, with the Joint Chiefs of Staff speaking Friday of a preemptive strike in case of “any sign of the use of nuclear weapons from the North”.
The South’s president also conceded that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is “uncontrollable” and highlighted the need for strengthening Seoul’s relationship with the U.S., which has nearly 30,000 troops based on the peninsula already along with plans to further develop regional missile defense.
Pyongyang hailed Friday’s test as taking the North to “a higher level” through enhanced warhead capabilities, while vowing to carry on with its nuclear development.