US calls for ‘strong UN action’ on North Korea for ballistic missile launches

North Korea's latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch, the second ICBM launch this month, is reportedly the first successful test of its largest and most powerful missile, capable of reaching all of North America.

North Korea, also known as the DPRK, has launched 63 ballistic missiles this year including 8 ICBMs, according to the US envoy to the UN.

"For too long the DPRK has acted with impunity, it has conducted escalatory and destabilizing ballistic missile launches without fear of a response or reprisal from this council," Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council.

She took a swipe at China and Russia -- two of the veto-wielding powers at the Council -- for enabling North Korea.

"They have allowed the regime to launch this latest reckless missile test, which endanger the lives of Japanese civilians and needlessly raises tensions in the region. These two members' blatant obstructionism put the North East Asian region and the entire world at risk," said Thomas-Greenfield.

She said that the US will offer another opportunity for the Council to hold North Korea accountable for its destabilizing actions by proposing a presidential statement, condemning Pyongyang and taking actions to curb the country's unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile advancements.

The US' demand for strong action comes after G7 nations called for the UN Security Council last Sunday to take "significant measures" following the latest intercontinental ballistic missile launch by North Korea.

"The DPRK’s actions demand a united and robust response by the international community," the foreign ministers of the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, Britain, France and Italy said.

Albania, Australia, Ecuador, France, Ireland, India, Japan, Malta, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the UK raised support for the US call to take action to limit North Korea's "unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile advancement."

UN's political chief Rosemary DiCarlo said that North Korea did not issue airspace or maritime safety notifications for any of these launches warning that announced launches represent a serious risk to international civil aviation and maritime traffic.

She also said that North Korea appears to be actively pursuing its nuclear program, quoting the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as saying the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site "remains prepared to support a nuclear test."

"It is critical to de-escalate and reduce tensions. Communication channels must be enhanced, particularly military to military, to lower the risk of miscalculation," she added.

China and Russia have long pushed for sanctions relief for North Korea.

China's UN envoy Zhang Jun called on the US to stop military exercises and ease sanctions against North Korea.

"The Security Council should play a constructive role on this issue. It should not always condemn or exert pressure on the DPRK," Zhang said.

Russia's Deputy Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva said that North Korea's missile launches are the results of the "short sighted confrontational military activity" of the United States being carried around the Korean Peninsula.

The Security Council has imposed military and economic sanctions on North Korea since 2006 because of its nuclear program.

Source: Anadolu Agency