US calls N.K. missile launch unacceptable, calls for consequences for Pyongyang
The US State Department said Monday that North Korea's ballistic missile launch is unacceptable and urged countries around the world to take steps to show Pyongyang consequences for its action.
"We call on all states to use every available channel and means of influence to make clear to the DPRK and its enablers that launches using ballistic missile technology, or efforts to advance North Korea's ballistic missile capabilities, are unacceptable," a department official said on background.
"We further call on all states to take steps to show there are consequences to the DPRK's conduct. We call on the DPRK to refrain from provocative, destabilizing actions and rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its international obligations and commitments and return to serious talks," the official said.
The official also noted that multiple UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibit the North's launches using ballistic missile technology or further development of its ballistic missile programs.
"North Korea's weapons programs represent a clear, grave threat to U.S. national security. North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan," the official said.
The US reaffirms its "ironclad commitment" to the defense of allies, including the provision of extended deterrence, and will continue to develop a comprehensive set of alliance capabilities to counter the growing North Korean ballistic missile threat, the official said.
Following the missile launch, the US special envoy for North Korea policy, Amb. Joseph Yun, spoke with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts and affirmed close coordination with the two countries, the official said.
The Defense Department said the US is capable of defending against North Korean threats.
"We are capable of defending against a North Korean ballistic missile attack and will take all necessary measures to deter and defeat threats to our and our allies' territories and citizens," Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said.
The North carried out the missile launch on Sunday morning local time in the first provocative act by Pyongyang since the inauguration of US President Donald Trump.
The launch came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatened to test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile apparently capable of reaching the US.
Noting that the launch was not an ICBM test, experts said the firing could be aimed in part at testing how the Trump administration would react to a missile launch before the regime goes ahead with a full-pledged ICBM test that Trump has pledged to prevent from happening.
On Monday, the North said the launch represented a successful test of a newly developed intermediate-range missile powered by solid fuel. Weapons experts say solid-fuel missiles pose greater threats as they require less preparation time than liquid-fueled rockets, and can be fired from mobile launchers easy to move around. (Yonhap)