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U.N. Security Council Weighs Responses to North Korean Missile Salvos

A South Korean protester shouts slogans during an anti-North Korea rally on Wednesday in Seoul. The U.N. Security Council was set to meet on Thursday to consider a potential rebuke of Pyongyang over its most recent ballistic missile test-firings, diplomats said. A South Korean protester shouts slogans during an anti-North Korea rally on Wednesday in Seoul. The U.N. Security Council was set to meet on Thursday to consider a potential rebuke of Pyongyang over its most recent ballistic missile test-firings, diplomats said. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The U.N. Security Council is slated to convene on Thursday to consider potential responses to North Korea's recent test-launches of two ballistic missiles.

Unidentified diplomats informed Reuters that the afternoon emergency meeting is coming at the request of Washington. Security Council sources said the United States is anticipated to call for a group statement that would rebuke Pyongyang for the Wednesday test-firing of medium-range Rodong missiles, which were said to violate the council's past resolutions. It is not yet known if China -- which in the past has shielded the North from council punishment -- would allow such a denunciation to proceed.

There also is a chance that the council's subpanel with oversight on North Korean sanctions could blacklist additional individuals and institutions with ties to the country's missile work, diplomatic sources said. However, pursuing that course of action would not be quick and was not likely to be decided on during the special session, they said.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon castigated Pyongyang for the missile salvos.

"Such launches are contrary to building trust in the region," the U.N. chief said in a statement released by his office. He went on to urge the North "to cease its ballistic missile activities and focus ... on the dialogue and diplomacy necessary to maintain regional peace and security."

In Washington, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced on Wednesday that his panel in May would take up consideration of a bill he filed in 2013 to deepen U.S. sanctions against the Kim Jong Un regime, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

The North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act "targets the regime where it is most vulnerable -- in the pocketbook -- and it will prevent Kim Jong Un from accessing the hard currency he needs in order to pay his generals," Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said during a Capitol Hill hearing.

Meanwhile, the senior representatives from Japan, South Korea and the United States moved to restart a frozen multinational process aimed at North Korean denuclearization and will hold trilateral discussions sometime soon, the Korea Herald reported. Leaders of the three countries, during a rare three-way summit on Tuesday in the Netherlands, agreed to launch the three-way talks.

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