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World condemns latest North Korean missile launch

World

The launch of a North Korean missile towards Japan has prompted sharp criticism from NATO, EU and UN officials.

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“This is a further breach of UN Security Council Resolutions, undermining regional and international security,” NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

The launch is “in outright violation of the DPRK’s international obligations, as set out in several UN Security Council resolutions,” a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

Japan’s UN ambassador Koro Bessho told reporters in New York that his country has condemned North Korea publicly and said: “we criticise their behaviour in the strongest possible terms.”

Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the UN, said if confirmed as a missile launch this is a “reckless act by a regime which is more intent on building up its ballistic missile nuclear capability than it is on looking after its own people.”

“We call on the regime to give up its programs, to invest instead in the people of North Korea,” Rycroft said.

Australia renewed its call for North Korea to abandon its illegal weapons program and condemned “in the strongest possible terms North Korea’s continued violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters in Canberra.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on North Korea to “change course”.

“This is not the path to security and prosperity for the North Korean people,” he said.

US President Donald Trump meanwhile said, “we’ll take care of it”.

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting in New York on Wednesday afternoon after a request from US, Japan and South Korea.

The White House said earlier that Trump was briefed on North Korea’s ballistic missile launch early Wednesday local time, its first in two months. Press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted that Trump “was briefed, while missile was still in the air, on the situation in North Korea.”

The Pentagon says it detected and tracked a single North Korean missile launch and believes it was an intercontinental ballistic missile.

At the time of the launch, Trump was in a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill.

North Korea fired the missile from Pyongsong, a city in South Pyongan Province, over the sea between South Korea and Japan, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday.

The missile flew to the east and the South Korean military is analysing details of the launch with the US in a bid to determine what type of missile was fired, the military said in a text.

Minutes after the North fired the missile, the South’s military conducted a missile-firing test in response to the provocation, the South Korean military added.

After firing missiles at a rate of about two or three a month since April, North Korea paused its missile launches in late September, after it fired a missile that passed over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island on September 15.

Last week, North Korea denounced Trump’s decision to relist it as a state sponsor of terrorism, calling it a “serious provocation and violent infringement”.

Trump has traded insults and threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and warned in his maiden speech to the United Nations in September that the US would have no choice but to “totally destroy” North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

Washington has said repeatedly that all options are on the table in dealing with North Korea, including military ones, but that it prefers a peaceful solution by Pyongyang agreeing to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

To this end, Trump has pursued a policy of encouraging countries around the world, including North Korea’s main ally and neighbour, China, to step up sanctions on Pyongyang to persuade it to give up its weapons programs.

DPA/Reuters

 

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