• UN council considers condemnation of NKorea

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    UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN Security Council met for two hours on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) to discuss North Korea’s test-firing of a missile from a submarine toward Japan and agreed to consider a statement condemning the launch.

    “There was a general sense of condemnation by most members of the council and therefore we will have to see how we would then be phrasing the press statement,” said Malaysia’s Ambassador Ramlan bin Ibrahim, who holds this month’s council presidency.

    The council held the urgent consultations on the latest test-firing, at the request of the United States and Japan.

    Earlier this month, North Korea fired a land-launched ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters for the first time, drawing an outraged response from Tokyo.

    But the council failed to condemn that August 2 launch after China sought to include language in a statement opposing the THAAD missile defense system that the United States plans to deploy in South Korea.

    The Malaysian ambassador said the United States would soon circulate a draft statement to the 14 other council members.

    Diplomats expected further haggling with China, Pyongyang’s main ally, over the wording of the statement.

    North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic-missile technology, but Pyongyang has carried out several launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the latest launch as “deeply troubling” and said North Korea had acted “in defiance of the united call of the international community to reverse its course.”

    “Not only are such actions a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions, but they also undermine peace and stability in the Korean peninsula,” said Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

    South Korea’s military said the missile, launched in the early morning from a submarine in the East Sea (Sea of Japan), flew about 500 kilometers (310 miles) — a substantial improvement on similar tests in the past.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the missile breached his country’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and condemned what he called an “unforgivable, reckless act” and a grave threat to Japan’s security.

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

    AFP

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