US calls China and Russia to action over missile launches
North Korea: Work and oil sanctions passed but nations tread carefully
Washington has called on all nations to take new measures against North Korea after Pyongyang sent an intermediate-range weapon hurtling over Japan into the northern Pacific Ocean.
Secretary of state Rex Tillerson said latest UN Security Council resolutions “represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take”.
He said China and Russia “must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own”.
The resolutions prohibit any country from authorising new work permits for North Korean workers and cap Pyongyang’s imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.
A spokesman for Russia’s president Putin said Moscow “resolutely condemns” such moves and said the missile test will “lead to the further growth of tensions and the further escalation of tensions on the (Korean) peninsula”.
Russia backed the resolutions passed this week, but the Kremlin has also been critical of calls from the US to ramp up the sanction pressure on North Korea.
China’s foreign ministry called for all sides to seek dialogue to reduce tensions. Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the situation remains “complex, sensitive and severe”.
She urged all parties to avoid actions that might inflame the situation, while adding that China, North Korea’s chief economic partner and diplomatic ally, did not hold the key to resolving the issue.
China, one of five permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council, agreed to the latest sanctions.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in, a liberal who initially pushed for talks with North Korea, said Pyongyang’s tests currently make dialogue “impossi- ble”, adding that sanctions would push North Korea towards the path of “genuine dialogue”. He added: “If North Korea provokes us or our allies, we have the strength to smash the attempt at an early stage and inflict a level of damage it would be impossible to recover from.”
Mr Moon spoke on the phone with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe about their response.
A spokesman said the two leaders agreed to co-operate in identifying “stern and effective measures”.
“The situation is complex, sensitive and severe”
THREAT: Yesterday’s test is thought to have been a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile, seen here being launched at an undisclosed location
The South Korean Army on exercise at the border