Updated: 05/08/2014 01:23 | By Agence France-Presse

Seoul urges vigilance against N. Korea nuclear program

South Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung-se Wednesday urged the UN Security Council to threaten North Korea with "the most serious consequences" if it insists on continuing nuclear tests.

Seoul urges vigilance against N. Korea nuclear program

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Yun Byung-se addresses the 68th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters on September 27, 2013 - by Mary Altaffer

North Korea has recently stepped up its testing the engine for an inter-continental ballistic missile amid concerns it is preparing a nuclear test, with recent satellite images showing stepped-up activity at its main nuclear test site.

"We must clearly warn North Korea that if it challenges the international community with another nuclear test it will be met with the most serious consequences," the minister said.

Pyongyang has already conducted three nuclear tests, in October 2006, May 2009, and February 2013, despite bans by the United Nations and increased international sanctions imposed in response.

North Korea's nuclear program represents "the weakest link in nuclear non proliferation, along with nuclear security and safety," Yun said. 

"Further nuclear tests by North Korea must be prevented through concerted efforts of the international community," he added. 

"If we fail to effectively act upon such a clear and present threat to international peace and security, it would critically weaken the credibility of the Security Council as well as the integrity of the UN charter."

The minister was speaking during a debate at the council on non-proliferation on the 10th anniversary of resolution 1540. 

South Korea leads the committee for enforcing the resolution, and will took over the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of May.

The council's members unanimously approved a declaration Wednesday recalling the objectives of resolution 1540, which first passed in 2004.

The declaration notably asks states to take national measures to ensure weapons of mass destruction do not end up in the hands of terrorists. Of 193 members of the United Nations, 172 have submitted their national action plans.

The declaration asserts that "proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security."

It also "reaffirms the necessity to prevent non-State actors access to, or assistance and financing for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, related materials and their means of delivery."

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