South Korean military fires warning shots at object flown from North

At the request of the US, Japan and South Korea the Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Tuesday (May 23) to discuss North Korea's actions.

He warned that no option is off the table in dealing with the North's weapons program, although Washington has so far opted for sanctions and diplomatic pressure, while looking to China, the North's closest ally, to help rein in Pyongyang.

They are presumed to have been balloons carrying propaganda leaflets from the North, he added.

Council's president Ambassador Elbio Rosselli of Uruguay told reporters that the member states are firmly united in rejecting the North's continuation of missile launches.

The latest missile tested uses solid fuel that allows for immediate firing, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said. A U.S. State Department spokesman has said the country would have to "cease all its illegal activities and aggressive behaviour in the region".

Inspections of ships operated by third-party nations that are transporting trade goods for North Korea could be strengthened, to block the movement of materials that could be diverted into nuclear weapons and missile development.

South Korea's incoming left-leaning government has taken a more conciliatory line with Pyongyang than its conservative predecessors, but has reacted strongly to the latest two missile tests.

Beijing wants a denuclearized North Korea, but continues to temper its support for sanctions with maintaining regional stability and backing the Kim regime as a check against USA and South Korean power in the region.

"First and foremost it is important to implement the Security Council resolutions in a comprehensive way", Liu said.

North Korea's recent missile tests were a legitimate act of self-defense by a "fully-fledged nuclear power", North Korean diplomat Ju Yong Chol told the U.N. Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Tuesday.

The statements are a significant stretch from a Monday regular briefing led by Lee Duk-haeng, South Korea's spokesman for the Ministry of Unification, which handles inter-Korea relations, in which he said the government would "flexibly review" the resumption of inter-Korean exchanges in the private sector on the condition that they do not violate worldwide sanctions against the North.

Tensions are high in the Korean peninsula with the hermit kingdom's constant sabre-rattling against its adversaries despite widespread condemnation.

  • Arturo Norris