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UN Security Council condemns North Korean missile launch

Kim Jong-Un
An emergency meeting of the US Security Council has condemned the latest North Korean missile launch. Photo: Getty
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The UN Security Council has “strongly condemned” the latest missile launch by North Korea at an emergency meeting held at the request of Japan, South Korea and the US.

The Security Council said North Korea’s program of ballistic missile launches were “in grave violation” of Pyongyang’s “international obligations,” and called on its member states to “redouble their efforts to implement fully the measures imposed” the hermit state.

The UN tightened sanctions against North Korea in November, two months after it carried out its fifth nuclear test, in a bid to dissuade it from developing nuclear weapons.

The latest missile was launched from near the north-western city of Kusong on Sunday, travelling nearly 500 kilometres into the Sea of Japan and landing in international waters.

It was the first such test and provocation since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump last month.

Mr Trump was entertaining Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the time of the missile launch and the pair later released a joint statement condemning the action.

Mr Trump earlier used his media conference Monday local time with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to talk tough on North Korea.

“Obviously North Korea is a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly,” Mr Trump said.

The US leader did not detail how he would respond to North Korea’s actions.

Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis also condemned the launch, saying “North Korea’s unlawful weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to our national security”.

A report on the launch carried  by the North Korean Central News Agency said Kim watched from an observation post and gave the order to fire the “Pukguksong-2” missile, which it said was a “Korean-style new type strategic weapon system.”

The launch triggered strong condemnation from Tokyo, Seoul and Washington, with China, Pyongyang’s closest ally, also criticising the isolated nation. 

“China opposes North Korea’s activity, which violated the UN Security Council decision,” China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said ahead of the Secutiry Council meeting.

“We are calling on all sides to remain calm. The UN Security Council will hold a discussion, and China will participate in the discussion with a full sense of responsibility.”

China’s stance is that the North Korean nuclear issue is rooted in conflicts between North Korea and the US, and North Korea and South Korea, Geng said, urging them to maintain peace.

Japan's Ambassador to the UN Koro Bessho speaks to the media after the Security Council meeting on North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch, February 13, 2017 at United Nations headquarters in New York. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch, describing it as a "further troubling violation" of UN resolutions. / AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan’s Ambassador to the UN Koro Bessho speaks  after the Security Council condemned North Korea. Photo: Getty

Malcolm Turnbull called on North Korea to “cease its provocative behaviour”.

The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop condemned the launch, echoing statements from leaders around the world.

“It is a clear breach of United Nations Security Council Resolutions and a further threat to regional and global peace and stability,” they said in a joint statement.

“There is a pressing need to improve the welfare of North Korea’s impoverished people, rather than divert resources to develop nuclear weapons and missiles.”

Australia will continue autonomous sanctions against North Korea and will work with other nations to increase the cost to North Korea of its continuing reckless and dangerous conduct, the statement said.

– With AAP