North Korea's missile launch debated in UN

[caption id="attachment_270414" align="alignnone" width="650"]                                                                Photo courtesy: Korean...

North Korea

[caption id="attachment_270414" align="alignnone" width="650"]Photo courtesy: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)                                                                Photo courtesy: Korean Central News Agency (KCNA)[/caption]

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned and expressed grave concern over North Korea's recent ballistic missile launches.

In an unanimous statement on Friday, it said that the launches constituted a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Two weeks ago, the Security Council imposed its toughest sanctions on North Korea.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the latest firings were deeply troubling and urged Pyongyang to halt these inflammatory and escalatory actions.

The Council held the closed-door meeting after North Korea reportedly fired at least one long-range ballistic missile from a site north of the capital, Pyongyang, which flew about 800 kilometers (500 miles) into the Sea of Japan.

Pyongyang had also fired short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off the country’s east coast on March 10 amid joint annual war games by the US and South Korea. Those launches also draw a wave of international condemnations.

US Ambassador Samantha Power condemned the launches, saying they showed that the North continues to defy international calls for changing its behavior.

Military experts in South Korea said the missiles launched by the North on Friday was of the Rodong type, a scaled-up Scud variant with a maximum range of around 1,300 kilometers (800 miles). They said the missiles were launched from road-mobile vehicles.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said the North “appears to be speeding up test launches to advance its nuclear capabilities.”