UN censures N. Korea’s ‘outrageous’ act
Desists from imposing more sanctions; North warns of more operations in Pacific
The United Nations condemned North Korea’s “outrageous” firing of a ballistic missile over Japan, demanding that the isolated country halts its weapons programme but holding back on any threat of new sanctions.
North Korea said the launch of an intermediaterange ballistic missile (IRBM) on Tuesday was to counter U.S. and South Korean military drills and was a first step in military action in the Pacific to “contain” the U.S. territory of Guam.
The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, ordered the launch to be conducted for the first time from its capital, Pyongyang, and said more exercises with the Pacific as the target were needed, the North’s KCNA news agency said on Wednesday.
“The current ballistic rocket launching drill like a real war is the first step of the military operation of the KPA in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying. KPA stands for the Korean People’s Army.
North Korea this month threatened to fire four missiles into the sea near Guam, home to a major U.S. military presence, after President Donald Trump said the North would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.
The 15-member Security Council said it was of “vital importance” that North Korea take immediate, concrete actions to reduce tension and called on all states to implement UN sanctions.
However, the U.S.-drafted statement, which was agreed by consensus, does not threaten new sanctions on North Korea.
Diplomats say veto-wielding council members China and Russia typically only view a test of a long-range missile or a nuclear weapon as a trigger for further possible sanctions.
China’s and Russia’s Ambassadors to the United Nations said they opposed any unilateral sanctions on North Korea and reiterated calls to halt deployment of a U.S. missile defence system in South Korea.
Speaking during a visit to the Japanese city of Osaka, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on China to put more pressure on North Korea, saying Beijing had a key role to play.
Tuesday’s test was of the same Hwasong-12 missile Mr. Kim had threatened to use on Guam, but the test flight took it in another direction, over northern Japan’s Hokkaido and into the sea.
The Hwasong-12 missile is fired from an undisclosed location in N. Korea.