UN security council strongly condemns North Korea missile tests

The UN Security Council strongly condemned North Korea over its latest ballistic missile launches and warned of "further significant measures" if Pyongyang does not stop its nuclear activities.

A council statement agreed to by all 15 members followed criticism by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of the latest launch and President Donald Trump's pledge to deal with North Korea "very strongly".

The Security Council condemned Saturday's launch and a previous test on October 19, saying North Korea's activities to develop its nuclear weapons delivery systems violate UN sanctions and increase tensions.

It called on all UN members "to redouble their efforts" to implement the sanctions.

North Korea has repeatedly flouted six Security Council resolutions demanding an end to its nuclear and ballistic missile activities and imposing increasing tougher sanctions.

The latest missile test is seen as an implicit challenge to Mr Trump, who has pledged a tough line on North Korea but has yet to release a strategy for dealing with a country whose nuclear ambitions have troubled US leaders for decades.

"North Korea is a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly," Mr Trump said on Monday.

Nikki Haley, his UN ambassador, said later: "We call on all members of the Security Council to use every available resource to make it clear to the North Korean regime - and its enablers - that these launches are unacceptable."

Mr Guterres called the latest launch "a further troubling violation" of council resolutions and urged North Korea to comply with its international obligations, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

The US, Japan and South Korea requested the urgent Security Council meeting.

Japan's UN ambassador Koro Bessho told reporters the key is implementing sanctions to get North Korea to change course.

"I think we need to keep pushing because we're not looking for a military solution," he said.

"We have to have a peaceful solution, and the Security Council ... is the body that is most suited for that role."

South Korea earlier condemned what it called "serious military and security threats" and predicted more such tests.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, who is also the acting president, said his country would punish North Korea for the missile launch.

In previous Security Council actions on North Korea, the United States and China, a neighbor and ally of Pyongyang, have been the key negotiators.

China, an ally of Pyongyang, said on Monday that the root cause of North Korean missile launches was friction with the US and South Korea.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China opposed the launch.

North Korea already has a variety of land-based missiles that can hit South Korea and Japan, including US military bases in those countries.

It has also successfully tested a submarine-launched missile and development of such missiles would add a weapon that is harder to detect before launch.

North Korea's Central News Agency said the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, was at the launch site to observe Sunday's test and expressed pleasure at the North's expansion of its strategic strike capabilities.

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