UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea's latest ballistic missile launch and demanded a halt to all missile tests, stressing again that they violate U.N. sanctions and "are significantly increasing tension in the region and beyond."
A press statement agreed to by all 15 members expresses "utmost concern" at North Korea's "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council" by conducting the latest launch less than three weeks after the previous test.
Council members said they "deplore" all North Korean ballistic missile activity, stressing that it contributes to the country's development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and diverts resources from the needs of its people.
Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its weapons development. The North conducted two nuclear tests and 24 ballistic missile tests last year, defying six Security Council sanctions resolutions banning any testing.
The constant testing has deepened concern especially in nearby Japan and neighboring South Korea — and also in Washington over fears that Pyongyang could soon develop a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
A U.S. official said Wednesday's missile test ended in failure when the rocket spun out of control and plunged into the ocean in a fiery crash.
The council the failed test followed a missile launch on March 21 and two additional rounds of launches and an engine test in February and March.
The council statement was issued hours before U.S. President Donald Trump meets China's President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort, where North Korea will be at the top of the agenda.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Monday that "the United States has seen China for 25 plus years say that they're concerned about North Korea, but we haven't seen them act like they're concerned about North Korea."
"This administration wants to see them act, and I think they're going to pressure them to do that," she said.