US drafting expanded sanctions against North Korea

On Monday, members of the United Nations Security Council approved a new presidential statement strongly condemning the country's continued efforts to build an intercontinental ballistic missile. 

The new presidential statement made clear that any future testing and development of a long-range missile system "no matter whether it is called a satellite or a space launch vehicle" is a "serious violation" of standing U.N. mandates, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Monday.

U.N. approval of the statement "shows that the international community is united in sending a clear message to North Korea that such provocations are serious and totally unacceptable," Rice said. 

North Korean military leaders claim last Thursday's failed missile launch was not a weapons test, but rather an attempt to launch a communications satellite into space. 

Many military and nuclear experts say that a missile that can launch a satellite into orbit can also theoretically launch a nuclear warhead through the stratosphere. 

To that end, security council members also expanded the list of banned "proliferation-sensitive" technologies Pyongyang is allowed to posses. 

Blocking those materiels from falling into North Korean hands could delay the country's missile development plans. 

In addition, they opted to widen the list of international companies whose assets can be frozen due to their support of the North Korean nuclear program. 

The State Department is working on a list of specific companies and sensitive technologies that will be included under the newly-expanded U.N. sanctions, according to Rice. 

That list should be ready for council approval within the next two weeks, she added. 

American diplomats held a one-on-one meeting with their Chinese counterparts to discuss the presidential statement and the new sanctions, Rice told reporters. The Chinese and Russian delegations on the council have been outspoken opponents of increased sanctions against North Korea in the past. 

Rice would not comment on the details of those U.S-Chinese talks, but did point out that kind of collaboration was not "necessarily unprecedented."

"This was a process that we have pursued successfully together in this instance as a Council, as we have done so in the past," she added. 

The missile tested last Friday by North Korea blew to pieces just after launch, according to news reports. The missile flew for less than a minute before disintegrating, reports claim. 

The last long-range missile prototype tested by Pyongyang in 2006, dubbed Taepodong 2, crashed into the Pacific just over a half-hour into its flight.