SEOUL, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- South Korea will have more leverage against North Korea when it becomes a member of the U.N. Security Council on New Year's Day, officials say.
The country, allied with the United States, hopes the Security Council will approve additional sanctions against North Korea.
But a diplomat at the United Nations who did not wish to be identified said China, one of the five members of the Security Council with a veto, has not yet announced its policy on sanctions.
"The Chinese mission to the U.N. has not yet received guidelines from the Chinese government," the diplomat said. "Even if it were to receive instructions today, it's unclear what their position will be and it usually takes a week to draw up a statement, so it will be difficult to reach a conclusion by the end of the year."
The isolated communist regime in North Korea recently carried out a successful rocket launch, saying it put a communications satellite into orbit. The country is already under sanctions for its nuclear program and rocket launches.
Its leaders announced Saturday through its largest newspaper that North Korea is prepared for more launches.
"Our satellite launches are an exercising of sovereignty that is in full compliance with the treaty on space, which stipulates that the peaceful use of space is a right of all countries," the newspaper, Rodong Shinmun, said.
The U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies said on its website that satellite photographs from Dec. 13 show North Korea is prepared for another launch at its Punggye-ri test site.