UN Security Council to meet after North Korea fires another missile over Japan

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/9/15 23:40:44

North Korea fired a missile over Japan and far out into the Pacific Ocean on Friday for the second time in under a month.

Amid international condemnations of the test, the U.N. Security Council was to meet later in the day to discuss the launch at the request of the United States and Japan, diplomats said.

The missile flew over Hokkaido in the north and landed in the Pacific about 2,000 km (1,240 miles) to the east, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

It travelled about 3,700 km (2,300 miles) in total, according to South Korea's military - far enough to reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which the North has threatened before.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said dialogue with the North was impossible at this point. He ordered officials to analyse and prepare for possible new North Korean threats, including electromagnetic pulse and biochemical attacks, a spokesman said.

"The range of this test was significant since North Korea demonstrated that it could reach Guam with this missile," the Union of Concerned Scientists advocacy group said in a statement.

But it said the accuracy of the missile, still at an early stage of development, was low.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under leader Kim Jong Un as it accelerates a weapons programme designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said the launch "put millions of Japanese into duck and cover", although people in northern Japan seemed calm and went about business as normal.

US officials repeated Washington's "ironclad" commitments to the defence of its allies. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for "new measures" against North Korea and said the "continued provocations only deepen North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation".

US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said Washington wanted to exhaust every diplomatic option on North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes and to see loopholes in sanctions against North Korean closed. Speaking in Geneva, he said the US was not taking the option of war or a military strike off the table.

Russia said the missile test was part of a series of unacceptable provocations and that the U.N. Security Council was united in believing such launches should not be taking place.

President Vladimir Putin discussed the launch in a phone call with French President Emanuel Macron and agreed on the need for a diplomatic solution, including through resuming direct talks on North Korea, the Kremlin said in a statement.


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