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International relations

UN Security Council condemns North Korea missile launch

Diplomats push implementation of current sanctions; no further resolution in the works

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea's latest missile test Friday, less than a week after adopting its harshest sanctions to date against the reclusive regime.

"The Security Council stressed that these actions are not just a threat to the region, but to all U.N. member states," the 15-member council said in a statement.

The statement called on member states to fully implement Security Council resolutions and expressed a "commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation."

"The Security Council had brief consultations and it has agreed on a press statement ... in which the council condemned the highly provocative launch of a ballistic missile by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," Tekeda Alemu, Ethiopia's U.N. ambassador and current president of the Security Council, told reporters after the emergency meeting, requested by Japan, the U.S. and South Korea. Alemu was referring to North Korea by its official name.

Friday's test is the second launch of a missile over the Japanese mainland in a month, and is believed to have flown 3,700 km, falling into the Pacific Ocean some 2,200km off Cape Erimo, Hokkaido.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting, Koro Bessho, Japan's ambassador to the U.N., condemned the launch as "a grave threat" to his country's security.

"It is very clear that it's a real threat to the peace and security of the world as a whole, and I'm sure the Security Council will be joining me in condemning what North Korea has been doing," Bessho said before entering the closed-door meeting.

Beyond the press statement, however, no further sanctions are expected from the council at this time. Diplomats instead spoke of the importance of implementing current measures, including those outlined by a resolution unanimously approved by the council on Monday. The tightened restrictions include a cap on North Korean oil imports and a total ban on textiles.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., stressed the strength of the newest resolution at a press conference. "There's not a whole lot the Security Council is going to be able to do from here, when you've cut 90% of the trade and 30% of the oil," she said.

Haley went on to suggest that there were still actions the council could take, but added that further pressure could also create humanitarian concerns.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters after meeting that Russia planned to "earnestly implement" Security Council resolutions, but called the provocation-sanctions pattern "a vicious circle."

"Many people raised an issue that we have to think, maybe, out of the box at a certain point," Nebenzia said. "But we again reiterated that at the moment there is nothing on the table but the Sino-Russia roadmap and the statement of the Fourth of July -- which is at the moment the only political proposal on the table," he said, referring to a Russian-Chinese proposal that would include a suspension of North Korean nuclear and missile testing in exchange for a freeze in U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

Nebenzia further added that the latest resolution "also provides for political measures that should be implemented equally," and suggested a failure by the U.S. to implement political and diplomatic solutions should be considered "noncompliance" with the resolutions.

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