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05:18 7 March 2017

U.N. Security Council to hold emergency talks on N. Korea

NEW YORK, March 6, Kyodo

The U.N. Security Council is expected to convene an emergency meeting soon, possibly to issue a statement addressing North Korea's new ballistic missile launches in breach of U.N. resolutions, a diplomatic source said Monday.

The move is in response to a request by Japan, the United States and South Korea. North Korea earlier in the day almost simultaneously fired four ballistic missiles that flew as far as 1,000 kilometers before landing within or very close to Japan's exclusive economic zone.

The missiles were launched from an area near Tongchang-ri in northwest North Korea at around at 7:34 a.m. local time, Japanese and South Korean officials said.

The latest action comes as North Korea has once again expressed its readiness to counter annual joint military exercises carried out by Seoul and Washington.

A Security Council press statement has no binding force, but to issue such a statement, approval from all 15 members is required in principle.

North Korea has already been the subject of severe U.N. sanctions for some time, but last year alone it test-fired more than 20 ballistic missiles and carried out two nuclear tests.

Speaking at a news briefing, U.N. Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq on Monday urged North Korea to refrain from any further provocation.

"We deplore the continued violation of the Security Council resolutions by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, including most recent launches of ballistic missiles," he said, referring to the country by its formal name.

"The DPRK leadership should refrain from further provocations and return to full compliance with its international obligations," Haq said.

==Kyodo

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