UN Security Council Blasts N. Korea Missile Test, Threatens Sanctions

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday “strongly condemned” the most recent ballistic missile test by North Korea, blaming Pyongyang for “greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond.”

North Korea last Saturday tried and failed to launch a missile from its submarine base at Sinpo off its eastern coast, the latest in a series of missile tests that violate U.N. sanctions against the North.

In a unanimous statement, U.N. Security Council members expressed their “utmost concern” over Pyongyang’s “highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance” of the U.N. sanctions.

“The members of the Security Council agreed that the Security Council would continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures including sanctions, in line with the Council’s previously expressed determination,” the statement said.

The statement also welcomed international efforts to find a “peaceful and comprehensive solution through dialogue.”

The Security Council statement comes as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump signals it is running out of patience with the North, which continues to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

US urges more pressure

During his visit to the North Korea border this week, Vice President Mike Pence announced that Washington’s strategy of so-called “strategic patience” with the North is over.

Pence said the international community, and China in particular, should put more diplomatic and economic pressure to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear arms and missiles.

The U.S. and its allies have for decades tried variations of that strategy without much success. North Korea’s authoritarian leaders have continued to conduct nuclear and missile tests, seeing the programs as crucial to their survival.

Earlier this month at a massive military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea showed off what appeared to be new forms of ballistic missile technology, which the North hopes will soon be capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental U.S.

The Trump administration has repeatedly said in recent weeks that all options are on the table, including military strikes, if necessary. This week, Pence said the U.S. is not interested in talks or minor concessions from the North.

That is a change in tone for Trump, who during the presidential campaign said he was open to talking with North Korea, and would even invite the young leader to the U.S. for negotiations.

VOA’s Margaret Besheer contributed to this report from U.N. headquarters.

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