China, Russia condemn North Korea's missile launch

Hours after North Korea fired off a missile into the East Sea Sunday morning, the United States, Japan and South Korea requested "urgent consultations" from the United Nations Security Council, an official at the U.S. Mission to the UN confirmed.

The meeting was requested by the US, South Korea and Japan - whose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting President Trump in the US when the missile was sacked and landed in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

China, facing criticism that it is not doing enough to pressure North Korea to drop its nuclear program, said Monday that the root cause of North Korean missile launches is friction with the United States and South Korea.

A South Korean army official quoted by Yonhap news agency ruled out the possibility of a long-range missile test, describing the device as an upgraded version of the North's Rodong missile.

North Korea said it had fired off a new medium-to-long-range ballistic missile Sunday despite resolutions by the United Nation's prohibiting such tests and the totalitarian regime's continued advancement of weapons and nuclear materials. It also comes after US defense chief James Mattis, in a visit to Seoul, said any use of nuclear weapons by North Korea would be met with an "effective and overwhelming" response.

There have been protests over the North Korean leaders' use of missiles Why did Kim Jong-un launch a ballistic missile test towards Japan?

A South Korean military source said the projectile was indeed likely an upgraded Musudan and suggested the North wanted to showcase its capabilities in the face of the new, hard-line US administration.

The UN Security Council has imposed six sets of sanctions since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006.

Officials said the missile traveled roughly 300 miles into the Sea of Japan, but did not enter Japanese waters. While Abe condemned the test as "absolutely intolerable", the U.S. president responded by stating that "America stands behind Japan, its great ally, 100%".

North Korea's relationship with China - its most important ally - has kept Pyongyang afloat as sanctions have crippled and isolated it from the rest of the world.

President Trump vowed to deal with North Korea "very strongly" on Monday - saying they are a "big, big problem" - following their latest ballistic missile test.

North Korea's most recent missile launch is absolutely intolerable.

Sunday's launch took place at 07:55 local time (22:55 GMT Saturday) from the Banghyon air base in North Pyongan province on the west side of the Korean peninsula.

The North Korean missile test this weekend coincided with Japanese Prime Minister Abe's visit with President Trump.

"Another striking feature of the test was the transport erector launcher that was used to launch the missile".

South Korea's president, Park Geun-hye, called the detonation, which Seoul estimated had produced the North's biggest-ever explosive yield, an act of "fanatic recklessness". He has also falsely stated that South Korea doesn't pay anything for the military bases that the USA operates in the country. Trump tweeted at the time.

  • Rogelio Becker