US urges ‘ac­tion’ from China and Rus­sia af­ter mis­sile test

Western Mail - - NEWS - Kim Tong-Hyung and Fos­ter Klug news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

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 UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions ap­proved ear­lier this week “rep­re­sent the floor, not the ceil­ing, of the ac­tions we should take”.

His state­ment sin­gled out China and Rus­sia, which he said “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.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Rus­sian President Vladimir Putin told re­porters that 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 by the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, 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 the ten­sions.

Spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing told re­porters 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 ve­towield­ing 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 “im­pos­si­ble”.

“The sanc­tions and pres­sure by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will only tighten so that North Korea has no choice but to take the path for gen­uine di­a­logue. 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 also spoke on the phone with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe about their re­sponse.

Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Park Suhyun said the two lead­ers agreed to co-op­er­ate in iden­ti­fy­ing “stern and ef­fec­tive mea­sures” to be dis­cussed at next week’s UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly min­is­te­rial meet­ings.

North Korea’s long­est test flight of a bal­lis­tic mis­sile sig­nals both de­fi­ance to its en­e­mies and a big tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the lat­est mis­sile trav­elled about 2,300 miles and reached a max­i­mum height of 478 miles. Guam, which is the home of im­por­tant US mil­i­tary as­sets, is 2,112 miles from North Korea.

Py­ongyang’s weapons tests demon­strate it can “turn the Amer­i­can em­pire into a sea in flames through sud­den sur­prise at­tack from any re­gion and area”, the Rodong Sin­mun news­pa­per said on Fri­day, with­out men­tion­ing the lat­est mis­sile test.

North Korea has re­peat­edly vowed to con­tinue its weapons tests amid what it calls US hos­til­ity - by which it means the pres­ence of nearly 80,000 US troops in Ja­pan and South Korea.

Fri­day’s test, which Seoul said was the 19th launch of a bal­lis­tic mis­sile by North Korea this year, trig­gered sirens and warn­ing mes­sages in north­ern Ja­pan but caused no ap­par­ent dam­age to air­craft or ships.

It was the sec­ond mis­sile fired over Ja­pan in less than a month. North Korea con­ducted its sixth and most pow­er­ful nu­clear test on Septem­ber 3. The mis­sile was launched from Su­nan, the lo­ca­tion of Py­ongyang’s in­ter­na­tional air­port and the ori­gin of the ear­lier mis­sile that flew over Ja­pan.

An­a­lysts have spec­u­lated the new test was of the same in­ter­me­di­at­erange mis­sile launched in that ear­lier flight.

> This May 14 pho­to­graph from the North Korean gov­ern­ment shows the Hwa­song-12 mis­sile at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion in the coun­try. Py­ongyang launched a sec­ond mis­sile that flew over Ja­pan in its long­est-ever flight yes­ter­day

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