United Nations – The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting yesterday after North Korea said it had successfully tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, diplomats said.
The United States — which confirmed it was an ICBM launch — backed by Japan and South Korea, requested the urgent meeting.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw the launch of the Hwasong-14 missile which experts say is capable of reaching Alaska.
North Korea’s Academy of Defence Science said it reached an altitude of 2 802km and flew 933km.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the launch, warning that it “constitutes a dangerous escalation of the situation”.
US Pacific Command confirmed the test and said it was a land-based, intermediate-range missile that flew for 37 minutes before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.
It said the launch did not pose a threat to North America.
But US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later confirmed the missile launched was an ICBM.
The launch came as Americans prepared to mark Independence Day, prompting President Donald Trump to urge China to act to “end this nonsense once and for all”.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday spoke by phone with China’s Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds the council presidency this month, to convey the US request for an urgent meeting, diplomats said.
Guterres stressed the importance of having united approach to addressing the North Korean crisis.
China, Pyongyang’s main ally, is pushing for talks between world powers and North Korea on dismantling the nuclear programme.
The United States maintains the Pyongyang must first halt its missile launches and nuclear test.
North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from developing missile and nuclear technology.
The Security Council adopted two sanctions resolutions last year to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang and last month added 14 North Korean officials and four entities to the sanctions blacklist.
Meanwhile, grinning broadly, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, delighted in the global furore created by his nation’s first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, vowed yesterday to never abandon nuclear weapons and to keep sending Washington more “gift packages” of missile and atomic tests.
US and South Korean forces, in response to Tuesday’s launch, engineered a show of force for Pyongyang, with soldiers from the allies firing “deep strike” precision missiles into South Korean territorial waters.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered the drills arranged with the United States to show “North Korea our firm combined missile response posture”, his office said.—AFP.