UN Security Council condemns North Korea missile tests

Dossier adopted by the UNSC, including by Pyongyang's only ally China, says the council will "continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures" if merited while calling on all sides to work to reduce tensions.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 6, 2016 shows the fire drill of ballistic rockets by Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force at an undisclosed location in North Korea.

The UN Security Council on Tuesday issued a strong condemnation of North Korea's latest missile tests and threatened to take "further significant measures" against Pyongyang.

North Korea test-fired three ballistic missiles on Monday as world powers gathered for a G20 meeting in China, with leader Kim Jong-Un hailing the tests as "perfect," and US President Barack Obama warning it would only up the pressure.

"The members of the Security Council deplore all Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ballistic missile activities, including these launches," the UN body said in a statement, using North Korea's official name.

"These launches are in grave violation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's international obligations and UN Security Council resolutions," the 15-member Council said in a statement.

"Such activities contribute to (North Korea's) development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension."

It called on North Korea to "refrain from further actions, including nuclear tests, in violation of the relevant Security Council resolutions and comply fully with its obligations under these resolutions."

The council said it would "continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures" if merited and called on all sides to work to reduce tensions.

The document was adopted unanimously, including by Pyongyang's only ally China.

Earlier, the envoys from Japan, South Korea and the United States appeared before the press together to slam North Korea's missile programme.

In this file photo, US United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power gestures while addressing the 2015 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington.

"With each test, each violation of UN Security Council resolutions — and there have been 22 of them so far this year — the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) demonstrates further advancement of its ballistic program," US envoy Samantha Power said.

"The Security Council must remain unequivocal and united in its condemnation of these tests."

UN resolutions bar North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology.

North Korea rejects the ban as infringing its sovereign right to pursue a space programme and self defence and has nevertheless conducted a fourth nuclear test and a series of missile tests this year in defiance of UN sanctions.

A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the US Department of Defense.

The tests have prompted South Korea to announce plans to deploy a US anti-missile system to counter such threats.

North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006.


Earlier on Tuesday, Obama held talks with South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye on the sidelines of a regional summit in Laos.

"North Korea needs to know that provocations will only invite more pressure and further deepen its isolation," he told reporters after meeting Park in Vientiane.

Park described the launches as a "reckless provocation (that) will lead North Korea down the path of self-destruction."

But despite the global chorus of disapproval and tough sanctions, Pyongyang is unrepentant — continuing to ignore the international community's calls for a halt to its weapons programme.

'Bolster nuclear force' 

The North's KCNA news agency said Kim personally oversaw Monday's missile firing, which he "appreciated as perfect."

"He stressed the need to continue making miraculous achievements in bolstering up the nuclear force one after another in this historic year," the report added.

The North's top newspaper Rodong Sinmun carried nine photos of the test, including one of a beaming Kim standing in front of a map surrounded by smiling officials.

This undated picture released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 6, 2016 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the fire drill of ballistic rockets by Hwasong artillery units of the KPA Strategic Force.

South Korea's defence ministry said the tests were of Rodong missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometers. It said they had been fired over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) without warning.

The Rodong is a scaled-up Scud variant with a maximum range of around 1,300 kilometers, bringing most of Japan within range.

Melissa Hanham, an expert on North Korea's weapons program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, said it was difficult to determine so far if there had been any technical progress.

"The most obvious difference from the last test is the change in warhead," Hanham said.

Last month, North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile from the northeastern port of Sinpo.

That flew 500 kilometers towards Japan, far exceeding the range of the country's previous sub-launched missiles.

Kim described the August test as the "greatest success" and said it put the US mainland within striking range.

But the UN Security Council said it regretted that Pyongyang was "diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles while... citizens have great unmet needs."

The launch was widely condemned by the US and other major powers, but analysts saw it as a clear step forward for North Korea's nuclear strike ambitions.

A proven submarine-launched ballistic missile system would allow deployment far beyond the Korean peninsula and a "second-strike" capability in the event of an attack on the North's military bases.

US President Obama met with South Korean President Park Guen-hye on the sidelines of a regional summit in Laos last week.

After his meeting with Park, Obama said if North Korea committed to denuclearisation then the "opportunities for us to dialogue with them are there."

But he added that Pyongyang's current behaviour made that impossible.

TRTWorld and agencies