17:42 8 March 2017
U.N. Security Council slams N. Korea's missile launches
NEW YORK, March 8, Kyodo
The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday slammed North Korea for again defying U.N. resolutions with its latest ballistic missile test.
The council "strongly condemned" the test, carried out Monday morning local time, as a "grave violation" of Pyongyang's international obligations, according to a press statement.
Through its official media, North Korea said it "categorically rejects" the statement, claiming that it "wantonly violated sovereign state's rights to self-defense."
The country's Foreign Ministry said the large-scale joint military exercises by South Korea and the United States, which started last week, are "the root cause" of prompting Pyongyang to take the latest action.
The 15-member council plans to convene an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss a further response.
North Korea on Monday 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 missile test, the second by North Korea this year, took place about a week after South Korea and the United States started annual joint military exercises. North Korea views the drills as a rehearsal for invasion.
North Korea test-fired more than 20 ballistic missiles and carried out two nuclear tests last year, despite already being subject to tough U.N. sanctions for some time.
In Tokyo, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the press statement shows the Security Council's "united stance" of refusing to tolerate North Korea's repeated launches of ballistic missiles.
"Japan will continue to strongly demand the complete implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions" imposing sanctions on North Korea and banning the country from testing ballistic missile technology, Suga said.