U.N. Security Council condemns 'outrageous' North Korea missile launch

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea’s firing of a ballistic missile over Japan on Tuesday as an “outrageous” act and demanded that Pyongyang not launch any more missiles and abandon all nuclear weapons and programs.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers remarks during a meeting by the United Nations Security Council on North Korea at the U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S., August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

In a statement, the 15-member Security Council said it was of “vital importance” that North Korea - also known as the DPRK - take immediate, concrete actions to reduce tensions and called on all states to implement U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang.

“The Security Council further condemns the DPRK for its outrageous actions and demands that the DPRK immediately cease all such actions. The Security Council stresses that these DPRK actions are not just a threat to the region, but to all U.N. member states,” read the statement.

The council also expressed “its commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution.”

“The world is united against North Korea, there is no doubt about that, it is time for the North Korea regime to recognize the danger they are putting themselves in. The United States will not allow their lawlessness to continue,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.

While the U.S.-drafted statement did not threaten new sanctions on North Korea, Japan’s U.N. ambassador, Koro Bessho, told reporters: “I certainly hope that we’ll be able to have a strong resolution following up this ... statement.”

Diplomats say veto-wielding council members China and Russia typically only view a test of a long-range missile or a nuclear weapon as a trigger for further possible U.N. sanctions. North Korea has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile and nuclear programs.

The Security Council earlier this month unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea that could slash by a third the Asian state’s $3 billion annual export revenue, after it staged two long-range missile launches in July.

China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, called on all parties to exercise restraint and “avoid mutually provocative actions that might exacerbate the regional situation.”

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the council there “can be no military solution to the issues plaguing the Korean Peninsula.”

China and Russia called for a halt to the U.S. deployment of a missile defense system, known as THAAD, in South Korea. Nebenzia added that joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises should be scaled down.

They also objected to countries imposing unilateral sanctions on people or companies linked to North Korea. Last week, the United States blacklisted 16 Chinese, Russian and Singaporean companies and individuals for trading with banned North Korean entities.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney