SEOUL – The international community came together on Wednesday to condemn the latest missile test by North Korea, an intercontinental ballistic missile which Pyongyang claims is capable of hitting targets across the United States.
Following the launch on Wednesday, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon questioned its success, saying the projectile lost contact with the control center mid-flight.
China expressed deep concern over the launch and reiterated it will continue to advocate denuclearization of the peninsula through talks rather than military options.
“China expresses its grave concern and opposition to the launch (...) and strongly urges the DPRK to observe the relevant resolutions of Security Council of United Nations and stop actions that heightens the tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Wednesday.
Other countries, including Germany, called for stepping up international pressure on North Korea to force it to abandon its weapons program.
“North Korea has again breached international law. North Korea’s ruthless behavior poses a huge threat to international security,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a statement, issued after Chancellor Angela Merkel took to Twitter to condemn the test and urge for an unified response to the North Korean threat.
The United States, too, said it would advocate for new sanctions against North Korea.
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, Heather Nauert, read out a statement by Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, where he proposed, along with Canada, to convene a meeting of the United Nations Command (UNC), the contingent that controls the Joint Security Area (JSA) separating the two Koreas.
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said North Korea’s weapons program was a violation of United Nations resolutions and undermined the non-proliferation regime and endangered regional and international security.
Russia called the launch a provocative act that would escalate tension on the Korean peninsula, while the Italian foreign minister called the launch a threat to peace and urged the international community for a joint response.
Angelino Alfano also confirmed that the United Nations Security Council – which is currently presided over by Italy – would meet on Wednesday evening to discuss the incident and would convene the sanctions committee to discuss implementation of relevant sanctions.
Earlier on Wednesday, North Korea had confirmed that it had tested a new model of the Hwasong-15, a ballistic missile more sophisticated than any other the country has previously launched, including two in July.
Although the missile flew 950 km (590 miles) and reached a height of 4,475 km (2780 miles), experts believe that the missile could have traveled over 13,000 km in a normal flight, which is sufficient to reach any part of continental US.