South Korea has raised concerns over China’s veto power in the UN Security Council. It fears China could thwart significant measures against North Korea’s latest rocket launch and said it is considering imposing separate sanctions on the pariah state.

China, a North Korean ally, could undermine “appropriate responses” sought by Security Council members if it uses its veto power to block the measures, which could include a binding resolution that would tighten existing sanctions on Pyongyang.

Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan stressed the need to prevent Pyongyang from conducting new launches – condemned as a cover for banned missile tests, Asahi Shimbun reports.

“The North’s missile capability has improved, but it is not complete yet,” Kim said during a committee meeting at the National Assembly. “We should focus our efforts on blocking the flow of materials related to their missile and nuclear program,” he said.

Kim said Seoul will cooperate with the US, Japan and other countries on separate punitive measures against Pyongyang, such as reinforcing sanctions involving seagoing vessels, according to a source in the South’s government.

Beijing expressed “concern” over Pyongyang’s rocket launch but acknowledged North Korea’s right to develop a “peaceful” space program.

North Korea “successfully put a satellite into orbit” in a surprise launch that rattled the region.