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On September 9, 2016, the United Nations Security Council issued a press statement condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for conducting its fifth underground nuclear test. According to reports, the detonation produced a more powerful yield than North Korea’s previous tests, indicating progress towards nuclear warheads capable of being mounted on ballistic missiles. In its statement, the Security Council condemned the DPRK’s continued pursuit of a nuclear weapons program, which threatens international peace and security and flagrantly disregards a number of Security Council resolutions. The statement noted that the Security Council would immediately begin work on a new resolution imposing additional sanctions against North Korea.
The test was the latest in a series of acts by North Korea undermining the nuclear non-proliferation regime that have led to responses by the Security Council. Most recently, on September 6, 2016, the Security Council issued a press statement condemning the September 5 launch of three ballistic missiles that landed near Japan. According to reports, the launch coincided with a summit meeting of the Group of Twenty (G-20) states on September 4–5 in Hangzhou, China. The subsequent Security Council statement resulted from a closed-door emergency meeting called by the United States, South Korea, and Japan. The statement called upon UN member states “to redouble their efforts” to implement measures, including sanctions adopted in March 2016, designed to limit North Korea’s ability to expand and improve its nuclear weapons program. Prior to that, on August 26, 2016, the Security Council issued a press statement strongly condemning a submarine-based ballistic missile launch by North Korea, which took place on August 23, 2016.