The United Nations condemned North Korea’s “outrageous” firing of a ballistic missile over Japan as the communist country’s leader called for more weapons launches targeting the Pacific Ocean despite China’s claims that it was working with other members of the Security Council on a response to Pyongyang’s actions.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke on Wednesday hours after the Security Council unanimously condemned the test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM).
Wang said China — which is Pyongyang’s only major ally — was “now working with other members of the Security Council to discuss the recent developments of the situation.”
He added that “based on the consensus of Security Council members, we are going to make a necessary response to the recent test launch of the missile.”
But Wang did not specify whether a fresh set of sanctions was looming.
“Whether there will be new measures going forward, that should be discussed by the Security Council and consensus needs to be formed,” Wang told a news briefing.
The foreign minister said China opposes the missile launch, which he said violated the non-proliferation treaty.
He urged for a resumption of long-dormant negotiations and urged all parties to avoid actions that “may further escalate tensions”.
North Korea has said the launch of the IRBM was to counter US and South Korean military drills and was a first step in military action in the Pacific to “contain” the US territory of Guam.
Earlier this month, North Korea threatened to fire four missiles into the sea near Guam, home to a major US military presence, after President Donald Trump said the North would face “fire and fury” if it threatened the United States.
In a statement the 15-member Security Council said it was of “vital importance” that North Korea take immediate, concrete actions to reduce tensions and called on all states to implement UN sanctions on Pyongyang.
Trump, who has vowed not to let North Korea develop nuclear missiles that can hit the mainland United States, said the world had received North Korea’s latest message “loud and clear.”
“Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table,” Trump said in a statement on Tuesday.
But the North’s leader Kim Jong Un ordered the launch to be conducted for the first time from its capital, Pyongyang, and said more exercises with the Pacific as the target were needed, the North’s KCNA news agency said on Wednesday.