UN Security Council to meet Wednesday on N. Korea launch

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council will hold an urgent meeting Wednesday to discuss North Korea´s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the US mission to the United Nations said.

The United States, Japan and South Korea moved quickly to request the meeting to address Pyongyang´s launch of the ICBM which the Japanese defense ministry said probably fell within Japan´s exclusive economic zone.

Council members will meet in open session from 4:30 pm (2130 GMT).

The council was already scheduled to discuss progress in implementing three recently-adopted rounds of sanctions aimed at choking off revenue to Pyongyang´s military programs.

Since November last year, the council has slapped export bans on coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, restricted joint ventures and blacklisted a number of North Korean entities in response to the country´s missile and nuclear tests.

It has also banned the hiring of North Korean guest workers and capped oil exports, in particular from China, Pyongyang´s main trading partner.

Under UN resolutions, North Korea is barred from developing missiles and a nuclear weapons capability but Pyongyang argues that the arsenal is needed for self-defense against the “hostile” United States.

The launch on Wednesday was the first ballistic missile test in more than two months, ending a lull that some diplomats said had opened a window of opportunity for diplomatic talks.

It was also the North´s third successful test of an ICBM which has the range to reach the mainland United States, although experts caution Pyongyang may have not yet mastered the full technological capability.

The Pentagon said its initial assessment showed that the ICBM flew about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

Speaking in Washington, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for “additional measures” to toughen up sanctions, including allowing countries to intercept vessels carrying goods to and from North Korea.

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