In a closed-door meeting, the council urged member countries to enforce sanctions against Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the test-fire of Pukguksong-2 on the spot, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, February 13, 2017.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the test-fire of Pukguksong-2 on the spot, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, February 13, 2017.

The UN Security Council on Monday unanimously condemned North Korea's weekend missile launch, urging members to "redouble efforts" to enforce sanctions against Pyongyang.

Backed by China, Pyongyang's main ally, the council agreed on a US-drafted statement describing the test-firing of the missile as a "grave violation" of UN resolutions and threatening "further significant measures."

The council met behind closed doors at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea after Pyongyang announced it had successfully tested a new missile on Sunday, the first launch since Trump took office.

At a news conference on Monday, Trump said: "Obviously North Korea is a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly."

The Security Council did not specify what steps might be taken beyond the UN-sponsored sanctions regime imposed on North Korea since 2006 over its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

"The members of the Security Council deplore all the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ballistic missile activities, including these launches," the council said in a statement that also referred to North Korea's missile launch on Oct. 19.

The statement "called upon all member states to redouble their efforts to implement fully the measures imposed on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea by the Security Council."

Japan, which called for the emergency meeting of the Security Council along with the United States and South Korea, said it was pleased with the council's resolve in discussing North Korea's latest missile firing.

"There was unanimity in condemning the launch and an expression of concern about the situation," said Koro Bessho, the Japanese ambassador to the world body.

Obviously we have to implement the very robust strong resolution that we already have. That is a starting point.

"We are capable of defending"

US, Japanese and South Korean military officials held a teleconference on Monday in which they condemned the launch as "a clear violation" of multiple Security Council resolutions.

The United States "reaffirmed its ironclad security commitments" to South Korea and Japan, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters that North Korea's "unlawful weapons programmes" were a clear and grave threat to national security.

"We are capable of defending against a North Korean ballistic missile attack and will take all necessary measures to deter and defeat threats to our and our allies' territories and citizens," Davis added.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies