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UN Security Council Condemns North Korea After Missile Fired Over Japan


The United Nations Security Council has condemned North Korea's "highly provocative" launch of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan as an "outrageous action."

In a unanimous statement that was supported by China, the 15-member council said on September 15 that Pyongyang's "actions are not just a threat to the region, but to all UN member states."

The statement was released after a closed-door meeting of the council following North Korea’s launch of the missile earlier in the day that triggered international condemnation.

The launch came a day after Pyongyang threatened to sink Japan and reduce the United States to "ashes and darkness" for sponsoring tough sanctions imposed by the Security Council earlier this week in response to its September 3 nuclear test.

"I believe it will further North Korea's isolation, diplomatic and economic isolation, because more and more nations are realizing there's simply no collaboration [by Pyongyang] with the international community," U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters traveling with him to Mexico City.

The test missile, North Korea's second launch in less than a month, flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 kilometers to the east, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

It traveled about 3,700 kilometers in total, according to South Korea's military -- enough to reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which North Korea has previously threatened.

Afterward, the United States called on China and Russia to take "direct actions" aimed at reining in North Korea.

"China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

"China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own."

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles under leader Kim Jong Un as it accelerates a weapons program designed to give it the ability to target the United States with a powerful, nuclear-tipped missile.

The Security Council earlier this week unanimously tightened sanctions against Pyongyang, imposing a ban on the country's textile exports and capping imports of crude oil, in the latest in a series of progressively harsher measures adopted since 2006.

The sanctions also called on Russia and China to stop providing new permits to North Korean laborers under a guest workers program -- a provision that the United States said would eventually end the program after existing permits expire, cutting off an estimated $500 million a year of Pyongyang's revenue from earnings sent back home by the workers.

The United States is calling for further action by Beijing and Moscow after the missile launch appeared to be asking the two North Korean neighbors to go above and beyond what was agreed in the last round of sanctions, which was in response to what Pyongyang said was a hydrogen bomb test.

With reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters
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