UN Security Council ‘strongly condemns’ North Korea’s missile launches
The UN Security Council on Friday slammed North Korea for defying UN resolutions with a series of test-firings of submarine-launched and other ballistic missiles beginning in July.
The 15-member council in a press statement “strongly condemned” the tests, the latest of which was a submarine-launched ballistic missile carried out toward Japan on Wednesday.
The council said these were all “in grave violation” of UN resolutions banning the use of ballistic missile technology. The other tests took place on August 2, with a projectile falling inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone for the first time, as well as July 9 and 18.
The missile launched on Wednesday, flew about 500km towards Japan, a distance markedly further than similar launches in the past.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has praised the country’s missile programme for having “perfectly acquired” the technology of an SLBM in a short span of time, official state media said on Thursday.
The submarine-launched test-firing is the third of its kind this year and marks an escalation in the North’s provocations, showing its apparent progress in developing weapons technology.
North Korea’s defiant pursuit of weapons development continues despite the United Nations imposing its toughest-ever sanctions on Pyongyang in March.
The sanctions were in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test, in January, and the launch of a rocket using banned ballistic missile technology the following month.
Until the statement was adopted on Friday, the Security Council members had been unable to agree on common language to condemn Pyongyang’s action. Any statement must have the backing of all members before it can be agreed upon.
The statement also noted that the members “expressed serious concern” about a series of other tests, six of which were carried out in April, May and June in “flagrant disregard of the repeated” Security Council statements.
There have been deep divisions on the council recently with China, as the North’s closest ally, increasingly resistant to issuing statements that condemn the actions.
But consensus was finally reached late Friday night after an emergency meeting was called on Wednesday in the wake of the latest launch.
The council members also “stress the importance of working to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond,” which was language added from the original draft circulated on Thursday to all 15 members.
The statement also says the council will closely monitor the situation and “take further significant measures in line with the council’s previously expressed determination”.