UN condemns North Korea missile test, vows sanctions | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 16.05.2017
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North Korea

UN condemns North Korea missile test, vows sanctions

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch, warning that it's prepared to hit back with tougher sanctions. Pyongyang has stepped up its missile tests over the past year.

In a unanimous statement, the United Nations Security Council said it would take strong measures in response to what it described as North Korea's "highly destabilizing behavior and provocative defiance." 

The warning came after Pyongyang said it had successfully tested a new kind of ballistic missile on Sunday that was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

The council urged North Korea to show "sincere commitment to denuclearization through concrete action" and stressed the importance of "working to reduce tensions."

The 15-member body, which includes main Pyongyang ally China, also demanded that the North "conduct no further nuclear and ballistic missile tests," and vowed to take tough measures, potentially including new sanctions.

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North Korea launches ballistic missile

The UN first imposed sanctions on North Korea in 2006. Since then, it has progressively strengthened the measures in response to the pariah state's five nuclear tests and two long-range rocket launches. The sanctions have mainly targeted coal exports, banking, luxury goods and equipment that could be used by the military.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told ABC television that new sanctions against North Korea could hit oil imports and energy.

The Security Council is expected to discuss the possibility of further sanctions at an emergency session on Tuesday.

UN: 'Threat to peace in the region'

North Korea is banned from developing nuclear and missile technology under UN sanctions. But leader Kim Jong Un has promised a sixth nuclear test, warning that his country's weapons could strike the US mainland.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Pyongyang over Sunday's launch, saying its defiance of UN resolutions was "a threat to peace and security in the region."

The test came just days after South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has called for closer engagement with the North, was inaugurated in Seoul.

Experts are viewing the launch as an escalation in Pyongyang's nuclear program, and an indication the North has made major advances in its quest to develop a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US.

nm/cmk (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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