1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

UN condemns North Korea missile test

September 16, 2017

The UN Security Council has condemned what it called North Korea's "highly provocative" ballistic missile launch that flew over Japan. In response, Pyongyang has vowed to complete its nuclear weapons program.

People watch a television broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing a missile that flew over Japan's northern Hokkaido
Image: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

The UN said in a press statement after an emergency council meeting on Friday that all 193 member states must "fully, comprehensively and immediately" implement all UN sanctions against North Korea.

The council "stressed the importance of working to reduce tension in the Korean Peninsula" and reiterated "the importance of maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula divided between authoritarian North Korea and democratic South Korea."

The statement also welcomed "a peaceful and comprehensive solution" to the North Korean nuclear issue through dialogue.

Read more: North Korea: From war to nuclear weapons

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch was a serious violation of Security Council resolutions, coming less than two weeks after its sixth nuclear test, which also violated a UN ban. 

In response, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Saturday morning that his country would complete its nuclear weapons program in the face of the new sanctions.

"Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the US and make the US rulers dare not talk about military option," he was quoted as saying by the state news agency, KCNA.

North Korea's latest test missile flew over Hokkaido in northern Japan on Friday morning and landed in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) to the east, the Japanese government said.

It travelled about 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) in total, according to South Korea's military, far enough to reach the US territory of Guam.

'North Korea threatens democracies'

Speaking on Friday, US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said military actions were possible. "There is a military option," he said, but added that it's "not what we prefer to do."

One of North Korea's furthest-reaching missile tests: Alexandra von Nahmen from Washington

But, McMaster added, the US was fast running out of patience for diplomatic solutions on North Korea's missile and nuclear programs. "We've been kicking the can down the road, and we're out of road," McMaster told reporters.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, meanwhile, accused Pyongyang of threatening the entire world.

"In East Asia, an increasingly aggressive and isolated regime in North Korea threatens democracies in South Korea, Japan, and more importantly, and more recently, has expanded those threats to the US, endangering the entire world," Tillerson said in a speech to foreign officials in Washington.

Read more: US-South Korea military drills - an unnecessary provocation of Kim Jong Un?

President Donald Trump will use his debut speech to the UN General Assembly next Tuesday to offer warmth to US allies and warnings to its adversaries, said US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

"He slaps the right people, he hugs the right people and he comes out very strong in the end," Haley said at a White House briefing. "No one is going to grip and grin. The United States is going to work."

Infographic North Korea nuclear tests

International consensus

France said on Friday it was ready to work on stronger UN and EU measures to help bring North Korea to the negotiating table.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in talked over the telephone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the two countries' response to the latest missile launch.

A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the launch, and warned it would cause a spike in regional tensions. 

The Kremlin has also been critical of calls from Washington to ramp up the sanction pressure on North Korea. Last week, Putin criticized the US for fueling "military hysteria" in the region and called for a political settlement.

Russia's UN ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said later that the US should begin talks with North Korea. "We called on our US partners and others to implement political and diplomatic solutions that are provided for in the resolution," Nebenzia told reporters after the Security Council meeting. "Without implementing this, we also will consider it as a non-compliance with the resolution."

Read more: EU targets North Korea exports with an expanded blacklist

China's Foreign Ministry also condemned North Korea's latest missile launch and called for all sides to seek dialogue to reduce tensions. The Chinese ambassador to the US said Beijing would never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state.   

Spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that the situation on the Korean Peninsula following Friday's longest-ever test flight of a ballistic missile remains "complex, sensitive and severe."

But, she said, China — North Korea's chief economic partner and diplomatic ally — did not hold the key to resolving the issue. 

jbh/cmk (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)