The UN Security Council has formally condemned North Korea’s latest missile launch, demanding that it “immediately” cease further actions that violate resolutions.
“The members of the Security Council expressed their utmost concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council by conducting this ballistic missile launch in violation of its international obligations,” a statement read.
It called on the reclusive state to show “sincere commitment to denuclearization and stressed the importance of working to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond.”
North Korea has recently escalated is missile and nuclear weapons programs. On Sunday, it attempted to test fire another missile, but it was unsuccessful, according to South Korean and US officials.
The attempted launch occurred a day after the regime of Kim Jong Un showed off a bevy of new missiles and launchers at a large-scale military parade on the Day of the Sun, North Korea’s most important holiday.
North Korea watchers had also speculated that the regime was ready to conduct an underground nuclear test, but no evidence of any such activity has been detected.
The resolution was held up Wednesday by Russia, which declined to ratify it — it looked as if the permanent member’s veto power would have torpedoed the attempt to hold North Korea accountable. On Thursday, Russia denied that it had blocked the action, saying that it wanted to add some language to the document.
North Korea reacted angrily to the resolution, calling the statement “impudent words” and pointed fingers at the United States as the main aggressor in the region.
The Permanent Mission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations said in a statement that the UN spokesman “must distinguish who is responsible for the current severe situation of the Korean peninsula being aggravated to the brink of war and should behave impartially and with caution.”
“The root cause of current aggravated situation of the Korean peninsula is none other than the Untied States (sic) which has been staging the ever largest provocative aggressive joint military exercises in South Korea aiming at pre-emptive strike, ‘decapitation operation’ and ‘overthrow of the DPRK system’ with all kinds of nuclear strategic weapons,” the statement added.
It said that it had requested Security Council discussions on US-South Korean military exercises “several times.”
The United States and South Korea are currently conducting annual, bilateral training exercises, codenamed “Max Thunder.”
The exercise “serves as an invaluable opportunity for US and ROKAF forces to train together shoulder-to-shoulder and sharpen tactical skills vital to the defense and security of the Korean Peninsula,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas W. Bergeson, 7th Air Force commander.
“This exercise will rigorously test our aerial combat capability and highlights the ironclad commitment between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea and the multifaceted capabilities we possess in this theater.”