World leaders condemn North Korea missile test | News | DW | 14.05.2017
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North Korea

World leaders condemn North Korea missile test

A medium-range ballistic missile test by North Korea on Sunday has drawn an international outcry. The White House described the rogue nation as "a flagrant menace" and demanded stonger sanctions.

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North Korea launches ballistic missile

World leaders have expressed concern after North Korea conducted a further ballistic missile launch on Sunday despite heavy UN and US sanctions imposed on it for its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

A statement from US President Donald Trump's White House called for the already existing sanctions to be tightened.

"Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea," the statement said, adding that the country had "been a flagrant menace for far too long."

The White House also suggested Trump felt that the intermediate-range missile, which flew more than 700 kilometers (435 miles) before landing in the Sea of Japan, may have caused some anger in Russia because of the proximity of its impact to Russian territory.

The missile landed "so close to Russian soil ... the president cannot imagine that Russia is pleased," the statement said.

Nordkorea provoziert mit weiterem Raketentest (Getty Images/AFP/Str.)

The North has conducted two atomic tests and dozens of missile tests since last year

'No threat'

However, the Russian Defense Ministry has denied that Moscow was worried by the launch as a potential security threat.

"This missile launch represented no danger for the Russian Federation," it said in a statement carried in Russian state news agencies.

"The Russian missile attack warning systems followed the ballistic target during its 23-minute flight until its landing in the central part of the Sea of Japan (about 500 kilometers from Russian territory," it said.

Nonetheless, both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who have been attending an international "Silk Road" summit in Beijing, voiced "concern over the escalation of tension, including in the wake of a new launch of a missile by North Korea," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as cited by the Russian TASS news agency.

China's Foreign Ministry also called for caution amid heightened tension on the Korean peninsula.

"The current situation on the peninsula is so complex that all relevant parties should exercise restraint and refrain from activities that would escalate the tension in the region," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

Read: Is a second Korean War imminent?

Nordkorea Kim Jong-un (Reuters/KCNA)

North Korea under Kim Jong Un has so far been undeterred by Western sanctions

'Reckless provocation'

New South Korean President Moon Jae-In, who has struck a conciliatory tone with regard to the North since his inauguration on Wednesday, also slammed the missile test as a "reckless provocation." He warned that the dialogue he favors would be possible "only if the North changes its attitude."

The latest test was the North's first test-firing since the US THAAD missile defense system deployed in South Korea earlier this year became operational this month, causing friction not only with Pyongyang but also with Beijing. The launch is being widely seen as an attempt to test the new South Korean president and the US, which has recently raised the temperature in the region even further by deploying a naval attack group in response to threats from Pyongyang.

However, both the US and North Korea have recently made comments suggesting that a meeting between the two sides could still be possible in the "right" circumstances.

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