In­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity urged to unite against lat­est North Korea mis­sile test

Abe warns of dim fu­ture if provo­ca­tions con­tinue

The Guardian - - INTERNATIONAL - Justin McCurry Tokyo Tom Phillips Bei­jing Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Wang Zhen in Bei­jing

US calls for di­rect ac­tion by Rus­sia and China

Ja­pan has warned North Korea it may “not have a bright fu­ture” af­ter Py­ongyang launched a bal­lis­tic mis­sile over Ja­panese ter­ri­tory for the sec­ond time in just over a fort­night.

The pro­jec­tile, thought to be an in­ter­me­di­ate-range bal­lis­tic mis­sile, flew fur­ther than any mis­sile tested so far by the regime, trig­ger­ing sirens and text alerts min­utes be­fore it passed over the north­ern Ja­panese is­land of Hokkaido yes­ter­day.

The for­eign sec­re­tary, Boris John­son, said the launch must be met with a united in­ter­na­tional re­sponse. He con­demned the test as il­le­gal and the lat­est sign of provo­ca­tion from Py­ongyang.

The US sec­re­tary of state, Rex Tiller­son, called for the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to take “new mea­sures” against North Korea, sin­gling out Rus­sia and China as be­ing best placed to ap­ply pres­sure on the regime, al­most a week af­ter it tested what is be­lieved to be a hy­dro­gen bomb. As ma­jor sup­pli­ers of oil to North Korea, Rus­sia and China “must in­di­cate their in­tol­er­ance for these reck­less mis­sile launches by tak­ing di­rect ac­tions of their own”, Tiller­son said.

The launch was a show of de­fi­ance days af­ter the UN se­cu­rity coun­cil ap­proved new sanc­tions against the regime.

Flight data shows the mis­sile trav­elled higher and fur­ther than the Hwa­song-12 in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­sile fired over Ja­pan on 29 Au­gust, sug­gest­ing the regime is con­tin­u­ing to make ad­vances in its mis­sile and nu­clear weapons pro­grammes.

The UN se­cu­rity coun­cil was due to meet again in New York last night to dis­cuss the mis­sile test.

Shinzo Abe, the Ja­panese prime min­is­ter, said the launch was “ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able”. He said the re­cent UN res­o­lu­tion ban­ning North Korean tex­tile ex­ports and cap­ping oil sup­plies to the coun­try “showed the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’s uni­fied strong will for a peace­ful so­lu­tion. But de­spite that, North Korea has again car­ried out this out­ra­geous con­duct.

“Now is the time when the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is re­quired to unite against North Korea’s provoca­tive acts, which threaten world peace,” Abe told re­porters. “We must make North Korea un­der­stand that if it con­tin­ues down this road, it will not have a bright fu­ture.”

South Korea’s pres­i­dent, Moon Jae-in, called an emer­gency meet­ing of his na­tional se­cu­rity coun­cil, while the South demon­strated its own fire­power by con­duct­ing a bal­lis­tic mis­sile launch off the east coast of the Korean penin­sula.

South Korea’s for­eign min­istry said the mis­sile test was a “very se­ri­ous and grave chal­lenge” to global se­cu­rity and urged the North to aban­don its quest to de­velop weapons of mass de­struc­tion.

“North Korea should clearly re­alise that its aban­don­ment of nu­clear and mis­sile devel­op­ment is the only way to guar­an­tee its se­cu­rity and eco­nomic devel­op­ment,” the min­istry said, adding that Py­ongyang should “stop reck­less provo­ca­tions im­me­di­ately and come to the path of di­a­logue for de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion as soon as pos­si­ble”.

South Korea said Moon and Abe had agreed to co­op­er­ate in iden­ti­fy­ing “stern and ef­fec­tive mea­sures” against North Korea, to be dis­cussed at next week’s United Na­tions gen­eral assem­bly min­is­te­rial meet­ings.

The Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokes­woman, Hua Chun­y­ing, said Bei­jing ob­jected to the launch but be­lieved diplo­macy was the only way to solve the “com­pli­cated, sen­si­tive and grim” prob­lem. “The top pri­or­ity is now to pre­vent any provoca­tive acts,” Hua said. But she re­jected the the­ory – ad­vanced by Don­ald Trump and Theresa May – that Bei­jing held the key to thwart­ing Kim Jong-un’s nu­clear and mis­sile am­bi­tious. “China is not the fo­cus. China is not the driv­ing force behind the es­ca­lat­ing sit­u­a­tion. And China is not the key to re­solv­ing the is­sue.”

China had made “great sac­ri­fices” and “paid a high price” in its bid to help rein in Py­ongyang: “China’s will­ing­ness and its ef­forts to ful­fil its rel­e­vant in­ter­na­tional re­spon­si­bil­i­ties can­not be ques­tioned.”

A spokesman for Rus­sia’s pres­i­dent, Vladimir Putin, criticised the launch and warned it would cause a spike in re­gional ten­sions.

South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said the mis­sile was fired from Su­nan, the site of Py­ongyang’s in­ter­na­tional air­port. North Korea used the air­port to fire the Hwa­song-12 mis­sile over north­ern Ja­pan last month – an act it said was a “mean­ing­ful pre­lude” to con­tain­ing the US Pa­cific is­land ter­ri­tory of Guam and more mis­sile launches to­wards the Pa­cific.

The mis­sile fired yes­ter­day flew 2,300 miles and reached an al­ti­tude of 480 miles – sug­gest­ing North Korea is pro­gress­ing to­wards its aim of build­ing a mis­sile ca­pa­ble of strik­ing the US main­land. It landed 1,240 miles east of Hokkaido.

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