US calls North Korea missile tests `flagrant` UN violation

 North Korea`s latest missile tests were in "flagrant" violation of UN resolutions banning such launches, the US envoy said Friday ahead of urgent talks at the Security Council.

AFP| Last Updated: Mar 19, 2016, 03:50 AM IST

United Nations: North Korea`s latest missile tests were in "flagrant" violation of UN resolutions banning such launches, the US envoy said Friday ahead of urgent talks at the Security Council.

The United States called for consultations after North Korea test-fired two medium-range ballistic missiles that US Ambassador Samantha Power said showed Pyongyang`s defiance of the Security Council.

"In further defiance, North Korea last night carried out additional launches using proscribed ballistic missile technology -- flagrant violations that the Security Council will hold urgent consultations to discuss," Power told an event on North Korean women held at the US mission.

Two weeks ago, the Security Council imposed its toughest sanctions on North Korea to date after Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test and fired a rocket that was widely seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.

Japan`s UN Ambassador Motohide Yoshikawa called the latest missile launches "very, very unfortunate."

"We hope the Security Council will be united to tell the DPRK" to change its policy, he said.

The 15-member council was expected to agree on a statement condemning the latest launches during its closed-door meeting later Friday, diplomats said.

British Deputy UN Ambassador Peter Wilson said "this is exactly the sort of thing that they should not be doing."

"What we see yet again is the North Koreans defying the will of the international community and the Security Council," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the firing of the two missiles was "deeply troubling" and urged Pyongyang to halt "these inflammatory and escalatory actions," his spokesman said.

Ban called on North Korea to comply with UN resolutions that bar the country from developing missile technology.

During her remarks, Power took an apparent swipe at China, saying it would be "absurd" to disassociate North Korea`s dismal rights situation from its military ambitions.

China has opposed discussion in the Security Council of North Korea`s rights record, arguing that the forum for this was the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"Many of North Korea`s systematic human rights violations deliberately underwrite the government`s nuclear program, including the forced labor carried out by tens of thousands of women and children," said Power.

South Korean military officials said the first missile was launched from Sukchon in the country`s southwest at 2055 GMT Thursday and the second about 20 minutes later.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un this week ordered multiple ballistic missile launches and a nuclear warhead test.

The launches came a day after US President Barack Obama signed an order implementing tough sanctions that were outlined in the recent UN sanctions resolution, as well as fresh unilateral US measures.