North Korea's missile launch over Japan a 'reckless act', says UN

Launch could have caused significant escalation of tension in region and beyond

The UN Security Council meeting after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday. Reuters
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North Korea’s ballistic missile launch over Japan on Tuesday was a “reckless act” and a “clear violation” of Security Council resolutions, said Khaled Khiari, UN assistant secretary general for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific.

During the UN council open meeting, which was requested by the US, Mr Khiari said the launch could have caused a significant escalation of tension in the region and beyond.

“It is of serious concern that the DPRK has again disregarded any consideration for international flight or maritime safety,” he said.

The missile was reportedly launched from the northern province of Jagang, covered a range of 4,500 kilometres and reached a maximum of about 970km.

It is the first time since 2017 that North Korea has launched a ballistic missile over Japan.

The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, reminded council members that North Korea launched a record 39 ballistic missiles this year — passing its previous record of 25.

She said two permanent members of the Security Council have enabled Kim Jong-un, rejecting claims by Russia and China that these launches are in response to US provocation.

“And before these two council members repeat their myth that the DPRK’s provocations are somehow a consequence of hostile US policies and actions, let’s review the facts,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

In recent years, China and Russia have suggested UN sanctions on North Korea be eased for humanitarian purposes and to entice Pyongyang back to stalled international talks aimed at persuading Mr Kim to give up his denuclear arsenal.

“This is a clear effort by China and Russia to reward DPRK for their bad actions and cannot be taken seriously by this council,” Ms Thomas-Greenfield said.

The launch comes amid a spate of missile tests, with four launches in the past two weeks, and follows renewed military drills between the US and its regional allies.

China’s deputy UN ambassador, Geng Shuang, who took the floor twice at the meeting, called on the US to respect North Korea’s “legitimate” concerns and noted the ballistic missile launches were “isolated”.

He urged the countries concerned to “meet each other halfway” and announced that China was ready to “make further contributions in this regard”.

He said that sanctions “cannot solve everything”.

Updated: October 05, 2022, 10:40 PM