U.N. Security Council considers North Korea response: China

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council is working on a response to North Korea’s latest missile tests, China said on Thursday, while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Pyongyang to cease “further provocative actions.”

North Korea test-fired what appeared to be two intermediate-range ballistic missiles on Thursday, but both failed, a South Korean official said, in a setback for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ahead of next week’s ruling party congress.

The 15-member Security Council met to discuss the issue at the request of the United States. China’s U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi, president of the council for April, said: “We’re looking at a response from the Security Council.”

Diplomats said the council was likely to issue a statement condemning the latest missile tests.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa, also a council member, said that during the closed-door meeting “everybody condemned the latest failed launches of missiles.”

“These types of actions by the DPRK (North Korea) are extremely troubling,” said Ban’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

The tests are the latest in a string of demonstrations of military might that began in January with North Korea’s fourth nuclear test and included the launch of a long-range rocket in February. On Saturday, Pyongyang conducted a submarine-launched ballistic missile test.

The tests have increased tension on the Korean peninsula and angered North Korea’s ally China. In March, the 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 and Cynthia Osterman