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UN Security Council condemns North Korea missile launch

The council agreed statement describing the test-firing of the missile as a “grave violation” of resolutions.

"Pukguksong-2” is launched at an undisclosed location in North Korea in this image supplied by the North Korean government yesterday.
Image: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

THE UN COUNCIL has unanimously condemned North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test as US President Donald Trump vowed to deliver a strong response to the provocation.

Backed by China, Pyongyang’s main ally, the council agreed on a US-drafted statement describing the test-firing of the missile as a “grave violation” of UN resolutions and threatening “further significant measures.”

The council met behind closed doors at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea after Pyongyang announced it had successfully tested a new missile on Sunday, the first launch since Trump took office.

At a Washington news conference a few hours before the council meeting, Trump described North Korea as a “big, big problem” and vowed “we will deal with that very strongly”.

The latest missile was launched from the western city of Kusong and flew east for about 500 kilometers before falling into the Sea of Japan (East Sea), South Korea’s defence ministry said.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley called on the council to “use every available resource to make it clear to the North Korean regime – and its enablers – that these launches are unacceptable”.

Nikki Haley American ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley arrives for the Security Council consultation. Source: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

“It is time to hold North Korea accountable – not with our words, but with our actions,” she said in a statement.

UN resolutions bar North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile launches or nuclear tests.

But it conducted two nuclear tests and numerous missile launches last year in its quest to develop a nuclear weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.

No military solution

The Security Council has imposed six sets of sanctions since Pyongyang first tested an atomic device in 2006.

Enforcing those measures is key to changing Pyongyang’s behavior, Japan’s Ambassador Koro Bessho said, cautioning that “it takes time”.

“We need to keep on pushing. We are not looking for a military solution,” he said.

We will have a peaceful solution and the Security Council is the body that is most suited for that.

The US Defence Department warned that the United States and its allies have the capability to shoot down any missile from North Korea.

Pyongyang is “very open and transparent about their desire to build this capability, and we are open about our ability to defeat it,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.

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The United States is also working with Seoul to install a THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea, a move opposed by China.

South Korea Koreas Tensions South Korean protesters stage a rally to oppose a plan to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD. Source: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

France also called for ensuring that sanctions are fully implemented.

“It also implies on the European side working towards additional EU measures,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre said, without elaborating.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the missile test and had called for a united international response to the “further troubling violation” of UN resolutions.

“The DPRK leadership must return to full compliance with its international obligations and to the path of denuclearization,” he said in a statement, referring to North Korea.

China and the United States worked together to draft the two latest UN sanctions resolutions, aimed at curbing North Korea’s export revenues and weakening its ability to build up its ballistic and nuclear technology.

© AFP 2017

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