This photo, captured from North Korea's Central TV on Tuesday, shows one of two tactical guided missiles that the North test-fired from a transporter erector launcher toward an island target in the East Sea the previous day. (KCTV-Yonhap)
The US has called for a new UN Security Council meeting to discuss North Korea’s fourth missile launch this month, as Washington seeks to ratchet up pressure on the reclusive regime to curb its prohibited weapons program.
Closed-door consultations of the UN’s most powerful body are expected to take place on Thursday, at the request of the US, along with the UK, France, Albania, Ireland and Mexico, according to Agence France-Presse.
“We will continue to ramp up the pressure on the North Koreans. Their attacks are a violation of Security Council resolutions,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN said in an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday. “I went before the press, supported by other colleagues to raise our concerns. We had an intense discussion about this in the Security Council, and we’re likely to have another such discussion over the course of this week.”
The UNSC convened an emergency meeting last Monday to discuss the regime’s purported hypersonic missile test on Jan. 5. Ahead of the meeting, six countries –- Albania, France, Ireland, Japan, the UK and the US -- had condemned Pyongyang’s weapons tests and urged the regime to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a joint statement.
Pyongyang, however, has carried on with more missile launches, with another self-claimed hypersonic missile on Jan. 11, followed by last Friday’s short-range ballistic missile that it claims was launched from a train, and two ballistic missiles on Monday.
The flurry of missile launches drew condemnation from international society, with the US slapping sanctions on North Koreans who were involved with the country’s weapons program last week.
Washington has proposed the 15-member Security Council to impose sanctions on five North Koreans that it had blacklisted, as part of a wider effort to put pressure on Pyongyang.
The matter is still under review, but observers believe that China and Russia -- who hold veto power on the Council and have advocated easing some sanctions on the North –- would likely block the US-led punitive measures.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org