UN denounces North’s recent failed missile test

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UN denounces North’s recent failed missile test

The UN Security Council in a statement Monday condemned North Korea’s failed intermediate-range ballistic missile test on Saturday, the latest provocation by the regime, which violates UN resolutions and its international obligations.

On Saturday, North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range Musudan missile from the northwestern city of Kusong in North Pyongan Province, but the missile exploded seconds after its launch.

A Musudan missile has a range between 3,000 and 4,000 kilometers (1,864 and 2,485 miles), long enough to reach U.S. military installations in Guam.

Through the statement, the 11th on North Korea’s nuclear and missile program this year, the Security Council said its 15 members, including China and Russia, “deplore” such provocative actions by Pyongyang, which “contribute to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension.”

The council said it “regretted” that North Korea is “diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles” while the country’s “citizens have great unmet needs” and urged the regime to “refrain” from further actions including nuclear tests. It went on to say that the council will “take further significant measures,” as it has expressed before. The council is currently drafting a resolution to implement further sanctions on Pyongyang for its fifth nuclear test on Sept. 9.

This resolution is expected to go beyond the toughest-to-date measures, implemented by the UN Security Council Resolution 2270 in March as a response to Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test in January, by closing current loopholes.

The UN General Assembly is also working on a new resolution addressing North Korea’s human rights abuses, as it has since 2005. This resolution could for the first time address the issue of North Korean abuses of laborers overseas, who are forced to work in dismal conditions to earn cash for the regime.

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately welcomed this statement and praised the Security Council for showing a strong, united message condemning North Korea for its nuclear and missile ambitions.

“Our government welcomes that the Security Council members united to announce a position strongly condemning North Korea’s provocations,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck in a briefing Tuesday in Seoul, highlighting that the international community will continue closely cooperate to work toward the faithful implementation of UN Security sanctions on Pyongyang.

Cho pointed out that the council’s statement “comes as the Security Council prepares a new resolution for North Korea’s fifth nuclear test” and “provides a strong warning against provocations that challenge the UN’s authority.”

Likewise, the White House also condemned the missile test, saying the United States “is prepared and has mobilized the appropriate military resources to defend our allies and ourselves.”

Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said through a briefing Monday that such actions by Pyongyang are “why the United States has been in discussions with our South Korean allies about deploying a Thaad [Terminal High Altitude Area Defense] battery and anti-ballistic missile battery to South Korea, to protect South Korea from the ballistic missile threat emanating from North Korea.”

But Ri Yong-pil, director of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Institute for American Studies, said in an exclusive interview with NBC News released Monday that Pyongyang is prepared to launch a preemptive strike on the United States in response to what it calls Washington’s nuclear threat.

“A preemptive nuclear strike is not something the U.S. has a monopoly on,” Ri was quoted as saying to the broadcaster. “If we see that the U.S. would do it to us, we would do it first.” Ri added that North Korea has the technology to do so.

He further warned that North Korea may carry out “a sixth, a seventh or an eighth” nuclear test, saying it was in response to the military drills between Seoul and Washington.

A North Korean official, Hwang Yong-nam, who is authorized to speak about the country’s missile program, told NBC News that Pyongyang has the capability to reach the U.S. mainland with a rocket, despite the Pentagon’s analysis that it cannot yet.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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