UNSC to hold urgent consultations on NKorea missile test

Tensions around North Korea's activities with both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons have drastically escalated in recent months, after Pyongyang conducted a number of nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches in violation of the UN Security Council's resolutions.

In Brussels, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu called Pyongyang's move "a new flagrant breach of a series of United Nations Security Council Resolutions", constituting "a threat to worldwide peace and security".

North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile on Sunday, the first test since a new president took office in South Korea this past week and called for dialogue with the North.

It's at least the 10th missile North Korea's tested since January. The missile flew about 700 km (435 miles) for 30 minutes at an unusual altitude of 2,000 km (1,240 miles) before landing in Japanese waters.

Russia's missile alert systems tracked the missile for 23 minutes before it crushed into the Sea of Japan, a ministry statement said.

"The United States maintains our ironclad commitment to stand with our allies in the face of the serious threat posed by North Korea". Tokyo said the flight pattern could indicate a new type of missile. "It is definitely concerning".

David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the missile could have a range of 4,500 kilometres (about 2,800 miles) if flown on a standard, instead of a lofted, trajectory - considerably longer than Pyongyang's current missiles. "With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil - in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan - the President can not imagine that Russia is pleased", the White House statement said. Euan Graham, an expert on North Korea at Australia's Lowy Institute, said it seemed to be a self-defeating move by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The test also presents an early challenge to South Korea's new president, who was elected this month after vowing to return to conciliatory policies toward Pyongyang.

In Seoul, presidential secretary Yoon Young-chan said Mr Moon "expressed deep regret over the fact that this reckless provocation. occurred just days after a new government was launched in South Korea".

The Security Council has adopted six increasingly tougher sanctions resolutions against North Korea.

Moon, the first liberal leader in Seoul in almost a decade, said as he took his oath of office that he'd be willing to visit the North if the circumstances were right.

The rest of the world has looked with contempt on North Korea's nuclear ambitions - which are viewed as a threat to the stability of eastern Asia - and potentially the entire world.

Trump said in an interview with Reuters in April that a "major, major conflict" with North Korea was possible but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome.

On Saturday, a top North Korean diplomat told reporters in Beijing that her country would be willing to open talks with the USA, but did not elaborate on the country's conditions for opening communication. The U.N. Security Council first imposed sanctions on North Korea in 2006 and has strengthened the measures in response to its five nuclear tests and two long-range rocket launches. Meanwhile, the USA has pressed the North to abandon its nuclear program.

  • Leroy Wright