UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on North Korea
traffic_analyzer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency session about North Korea on Wednesday afternoon, one day after the country’s rogue regime tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile.
The meeting comes at the request of Japan, the United States and South Korea, the latter two of which fired off short-range ballistic missiles during joint military exercises in response.
North Korea’s young leader, Kim Jong-un, was seen photographed inspecting the missile before launch, saying the launch was a “gift” for the U.S. on its Independence Day.
The U.S. confirmed the launch was an ICBM, calling “a new escalation of the threat” to it and its allies, and warning other countries to strengthen their response.
“Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime,” said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a statement Tuesday.
He added, “We intend to bring North Korea’s provocative action before the UN Security Council and enact stronger measures to hold the DPRK accountable,” using an acronym for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
China and Russia — both of which sit on the Security Council and will take part in today’s meeting — issued a joint statement Tuesday calling for a halt to North Korea’s ballistic and nuclear programs in exchange for a halt to U.S.-South Korean military exercises. That idea has been rejected by the U.S. and South Korea in the past, who say halting their legal defensive military exercises in exchange for a freeze on North Korea’s illegal aggressive missile and nuclear programs is a false equivalence.
China and Russia still have economic ties to North Korea, with China accounting for up to 90 percent of North Korea’s total trade volume. While at times expressing confidence that China was taking steps to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration has also threatened to sanction Chinese businesses trading with North Korea if China won’t do more to curtail them.
In June, the U.S. managed to get a new round of sanctions on North Korea passed by the UN Security Council, including a rare “yes” vote from China. It’s unclear if there will be any new proposals at today’s meeting, beyond an expression of outrage and demands for action.
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