NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg calls Pyongyang’s missile launch ‘another reckless breach of UN resolutions’
NATO has called for “a global response” to North Korea’s ballistic missile tests early on Friday.
“North Korea’s missile launch is another reckless breach of UN resolutions, a major threat to international peace and security which demands a global response,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on social media.
Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the second time in less than a month early on Friday morning, ignoring renewed global efforts to end its nuclear threat.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was launched from the Pyongyang area before flying a distance of around 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) over northeastern Japan and landing in the Pacific Ocean, according to local news agency Yonhap.
The projectile was assessed to be another intermediate-range ballistic missile, although it traveled 1,000 km (621 miles) further than the North’s previous test — placing American forces and strategic assets in Guam well within the North’s range.
Following the “provocative” launch, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said past UN Security Council resolutions are the bare minimum response Pyongyang can expect as he called on China and Russia to take action against the North.
“China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor,” he said in a statement. “China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”
Speaking later in Geneva, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament Robert Wood said the U.S. was not “taking any options off the table but as l said earlier we are pursuing a diplomatic track right now”.
Stating that sanctions on North Korea had not been fully implemented, Wood said: “We need countries to fulfill their obligations.
“The sanctions have not had a real opportunity to bite as hard as we would like them to bite.”
Highlighting that the U.S. would never recognize a North Korea with nuclear weapons, Wood added: “We want to have the existing sanctions … fully implemented.”
Wood also called on countries to downgrade their diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.
Turkey also condemned the missile launch “in the strongest terms” and said it was done “in a reckless and provocative manner, disregarding regional and international security and stability”.
“We call upon the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to fulfill its obligations as expressed in UNSC resolutions,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on Friday.
Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged the international community “to play their part in changing the course North Korea is taking”.
“This week the most stringent UN sanctions regime placed on any nation in the 21st century was imposed on North Korea, after being unanimously agreed at the UN Security Council. These measures now need to be robustly enforced.
“We are working to mobilize world opinion with the aim of achieving a diplomatic solution to the situation on the Korean peninsula,” Johnson added.
Seoul’s response was swift — the South Korean military announced a ballistic missile drill of its own immediately after revealing Pyongyang’s launch, while President Moon Jae-in presided over a National Security Council meeting.
The United Nations Security Council is also expected to gather later in the day, having only just unanimously adopted its ninth resolution imposing sanctions on North Korea this past Monday in response to the reclusive state’s sixth ever nuclear test on Sept. 3.
Pyongyang condemned the latest resolution, threatening, Wednesday, to completely destroy both the United States and Japan.
*Alex Jensen in Seoul and Michael Hernandez in Washington D.C. contributed to this story.
By Ilker Girit