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Wednesday 20 March 2019

UN Security Council condemns 'outrageous' North Korea missile test

The United Nations Security Council holds an emergency meeting on North Korea in New York (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
The United Nations Security Council holds an emergency meeting on North Korea in New York (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, calling its actions "outrageous".

The UN's most powerful body r eiterated demands for Pyongyang to halt its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes, after an emergency meeting on the missile test.

The missile flight came less than a month after the council imposed its toughest-yet sanctions on North Korea.

The UN's most powerful body issued a statement after the meeting which did not discuss any potential new sanctions but calls for strict implementation of existing ones.

"The Security Council, resolute in its commitment to a denuclearised Korean Peninsula, emphasises the vital importance of immediate, concrete actions by the DPRK to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond," the council said, using an acronym for the nation's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The council also said it was committed to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation.

Going into Tuesday's meeting, ambassadors from several countries said they wanted to discuss what next steps to take, but first of all to show that the international community was united in firmly rebuking the missile test.

"This demonstrates the unity of the security council and sends a strong message to North Korea that the international community will not accept" its behaviour, Japanese ambassador Koro Bessho said as the closed-door discussion evolved into an open meeting.

The US ambassador, Nikki Haley, said: "It is time for North Korea to recognise the danger they are putting themselves in."

North Korea is not on the 15-member council. While it was meeting in New York, Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said leader Kim Jong Un expressed "great satisfaction" with the launch and called for more ballistic missile tests targeting the Pacific Ocean.

The agency cast the missile test as a response to US-South Korean military exercises, annual drills that North Korea sees as a rehearsal for invasion.

The US says their only purpose is to improve readiness to defend South Korea and maintain stability on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea had requested a Security Council meeting about the exercises last week.

Instead, the council met at the urging of the US, Japan and South Korea after the launch, which sent a missile - designed to carry a nuclear payload - almost 1,700 miles into the Pacific Ocean and triggered alert warnings as it soared over northern Japan.


Press Association

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