01:11 9 March 2017
U.N. Security Council holds emergency talks on N. Korea
NEW YORK, March 8, Kyodo
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday convened an emergency meeting to address North Korea's latest test-firing of ballistic missiles in violation of U.N. resolutions.
The move came a day after the 15-member council in a press statement "strongly condemned" the test, carried out Monday morning local time, as a "grave violation" of Pyongyang's international obligations.
"The most important thing of course is to reduce tension and also to get on the track of dialogue, to seek progress in denuclearization and also to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi told reporters just prior to the meeting.
Japanese Ambassador Koro Bessho said the missile launch is "totally unacceptable," noting it is important the Security Council "discuss this and try to think through about what further actions to take."
On Monday, Pyongyang fired ballistic missiles that landed in waters as close as 300-350 kilometers off Japan's northwest coast. North Korea's official media has reported that the launch was a drill simulating a strike on U.S. military bases in Japan.
In the statement, the council members also "deplore all the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ballistic missile activities" and "expressed serious concern" over the country's "increasingly destabilizing behavior and defiance." North Korea's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The launches came after Pyongyang criticized the annual joint military exercises being conducted by Seoul and Washington. While the United States and South Korea consider the exercises routine, the North views them as preparation for war.
Under past U.N. resolutions, North Korea is barred from any use of ballistic missile technology. But a spate of six sanctions since its first nuclear test in 2006 have failed to dissuade the country from pursuing what it insists are defensive weapons.