U.N. council condemns North Korea missile launches, threatens action

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks at a rocket warhead tip after a simulated test of atmospheric re-entry of a ballistic missile, at an unidentified location in this undated file photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on March 15, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA/File photo

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday condemned three recent failed ballistic missile tests by North Korea and threatened to take further “significant measures.”

Tension in Northeast Asia has been high since North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and followed that with a satellite launch in February and test launches of various missiles.

Last month the 15-member Security Council was unable to condemn two failed ballistic missile launches by North Korea in late April after Russia proposed amendments to a draft statement that had already been approved by the remaining 14 members.

The United States, Japan and others found the proposals unacceptable.

The statement issued by the council on Wednesday condemned the two late April tests as well as another failed missile launch by Pyongyang on Tuesday.

Earlier in April North Korea had conducted an intermediate-range ballistic missile test and a submarine-launched ballistic missile test, which were both condemned by the Security Council at the time.

“The members of the Security Council deplore all DPRK (North Korea) ballistic missile activities, including these multiple failed launches, noting that such activities contribute to the DPRK’s development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension,” the council said on Wednesday.

“The members of the Security Council further regretted that the DPRK is diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles while DPRK citizens have great unmet needs,” the council said.

In March, the U.N. Security Council imposed harsh new sanctions on North Korea to starve it of money for its nuclear weapons program.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish