North Korea / AP
The United States, Japan and South Korea have requested urgent diplomatic talks at the United Nations on Monday over North Korea’s latest ballistic missile launch, with Seoul condemning what it called “serious military and security threats” and predicting more such tests.
A spokesman for the US Mission to the United Nations said that the meeting is expected to take place Monday. The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The UN Mission for Ukraine, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency, later confirmed that closed consultations on North Korea will take place late Monday afternoon.
The banned missile test, which was conducted early Sunday, is seen as an implicit challenge to President Donald Trump, who has vowed a tough line on Pyongyang but has yet to release a strategy for dealing with a country whose nuclear ambitions have bedeviled US leaders for decades.
North Korean state media said leader Kim Jong Un was at the site to observe the launch and expressed pleasure at the North’s expansion of its strategic strike capabilities.
“These are serious military and security threats,” Jeong Joon-hee, spokesman at the Ministry of Unification, told reporters. “Pyongyang has no intention of backing away from its goal to become a country with nuclear weapons.”
A report on the launch carried early Monday by the North’s Korean Central News Agency said Kim watched from an observation post and gave the order to fire the “Pukguksong-2,” which it said was a “Korean style new type strategic weapon system.”
It is believed to have flown about 500 kilometers (310 miles) before splashing down into the ocean in international waters.
The report said the test proved “the reliability and security” of a new mobile launching system, the solid fuel that was used and the guidance and control features of the ballistic missile. Solid fuel can give missiles longer range and make detecting them before launch more difficult because they can be readied faster than liquid fuel missiles.
The report also said the test verified control and guidance capabilities and said the missile can be “tipped with a nuclear warhead.”
It suggested the launch conducted in a “lofted” style, which puts the missile into a high trajectory rather than a lower one that gives it more range, in order take “the security of the neighboring countries into consideration.”
It added that Kim “expressed great satisfaction over the possession of another powerful nuclear attack means.”
China blames US, SKorea for North missile launchÂ
BEIJING / AP
China, facing criticism that it is not doing enough to pressure North Korea to drop its nuclear program, said on Monday that the root cause of North Korean missile launches is friction with the United States and South Korea.
North Korea fired a banned ballistic missile on Sunday, its first test since US President Donald Trump took office. The missile, launched as Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Florida, is believed to have flown about 500 kilometers (300 miles) before splashing down in international waters.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China opposed the launch, which violated UN Security Council resolutions that call for an end to North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.
China is North Korea’s largest source of trade and aid, and Trump has complained that Beijing is not doing enough to pressure it. Beijing counters that its influence is overstated and suggests that Washington’s refusal to talk directly to North Korea is impeding progress towards a solution.
“The root cause of the (North Korea) nuclear missile issue is its differences with the US and South Korea,” Geng told reporters at a regular briefing.
Geng said China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has been “completely and comprehensively” implementing Security Council resolutions on the nuclear issue. He said Beijing “has been striving for a settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue by proactively engaging in mediation and promoting peace talks.”
Geng urged all sides to refrain from provocative action and said China would continue participating in Security Council discussions in a constructive and responsible way.
He added that China has long been encouraging Seoul and Washington to have a dialogue with North Korea.