U.S. lawmakers want 'supercharged' response to N.Korea nuclear tests

U.S. lawmakers want 'supercharged' response to N.Korea nuclear tests

South Korea said on Wednesday traces of radioactive xenon gas were confirmed to be from a North Korean nuclear test earlier this month, but it was unable to conclude whether the test had been for a hydrogen bomb as Pyongyang claimed.

Earlier, the United States vowed to apply further pressure if North Korea kept its "dangerous path".

Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera yesterday urged tougher sanctions including curbing oil supplies to North Korea.

North Koreans celebrated the country's 69th founding anniversary on Sunday, but Pyongyang did not test another intercontinental ballistic missile, as South Korea had warned might happen.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously stepped up sanctions against North Korea on Monday over the country's sixth and most powerful nuclear test conducted on September 3, imposing a ban on the country's textile exports and capping imports of crude oil. But it caps imports of crude oil at the level of the last 12 months, and it limits the import of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels a year. It also bans all textile exports and prohibits any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers - two key sources of hard currency for the northeast Asian nation.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi again called for talks "sooner rather than later".

North Korea has made rapid progress in its nuclear and missile programs despite multiple sets of United Nations sanctions, and Go Myong-Hyun at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies said the latest measures were "not enough to cause pain".

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KELEMEN: Well, past administrations would have taken time to really negotiate a sanctions resolution ahead of time, but this administration seemed really intent on moving quickly.

There are a few things that made it through the negotiating process - for instance, a ban on textile exports from North Korea, for instance. But they are concerned about the nuclear and missile tests.

FireEye says it has identified three attacks against South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges that took place between May and July, all of them linked to North Korean hackers.

That would amount to a 10 per cent cut in oil products, according to the US Energy Information Administration, which estimates annual exports to North Korea at almost 2.2 million barrels.

The U.N. Security Council is stepping up the pressure on North Korea.

"We should go after banks and companies in other countries that do business with North Korea the same way", he said. The resolution adds only the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea and the party's powerful Organization and Guidance Department and its Propaganda and Agitation Department to the sanctions blacklist.