UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN Security Council on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) 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 Group of 20 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.
“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.
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 program.
“With each test, each violation of UN Security Council resolutions — and there have been 22 of them so far this year — the DPRK [North 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,” she added.
UN resolutions bar North Korea from any use of ballistic missile technology.
Pyongyang has nevertheless conducted a fourth nuclear test and a series of missile tests this year in defiance of UN sanctions, prompting 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 program.
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.
South Korea’s defense ministry said the tests were of Rodong missiles with a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles). It said they had been fired over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) without warning.