UN Security Council condemns North Korean missile launches
The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launches and threatened "further significant measures" if the country refuses to stop its nuclear and missile tests.
The UN's most powerful body agreed to the tough statement hours after a closed-door emergency meeting to discuss the three launches which landed near Japan.
The council expressed serious concern that North Korea carried out the launches "in flagrant disregard" of its demands.
It called for stepped-up implementation of sanctions against North Korea.
The United States, Japan and South Korea earlier called on the Security Council to speak out.
US Ambassador Samantha Power said: "The Security Council must remain unequivocal and united in condemnation of these tests and we must take action to enforce the words we put on paper - to enforce our resolutions."
North Korea launched the missiles while China was hosting the Group of 20 economic summit, she said, once again showing the North's "blatant disregard" for UN sanctions and its international obligations "and its willingness to provoke and to threaten the international community with impunity".
Ms Power said North Korea has carried out 22 missile launches so far this year and the latest hit "within 300 kilometres of Japan's coast".
With each test, she said, North Korea demonstrates further advancement of its ballistic missile programme whose aim, according to the country's leader Kim Jong Un, is "to arm the systems with nuclear weapons".
Japan's UN Ambassador Koro Bessho said he was encouraged that in the council meeting "there was a much stronger show of unity" and all members "condemned the launches in very strong terms".
South Korea's deputy UN ambassador Hahn Choong Hee said the international community should be united in sending a "clear and unequivocal message to North Korea that if they continue to provoke and violate their international commitments and sanctions, they will face much stronger and insurmountable and significant counter-measures from the international community".