The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launch but got no further than agreeing to “consider a press statement,” according to the president of the body.
Malaysian Ambassador to the United Nations Ramlan Bin Ibrahim said there was “a general sense of condemnation” among most council members regarding North Korea’s firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile toward Japan on Wednesday.
“We will have to see how we will then be phrasing the press statement,” he said. Malaysia is the rotating council president of the month.
The missile flew about 500 kilometers toward Japan, a distance markedly further than similar launches in the past, in defiance of rounds of U.N. resolutions banning the use of ballistic missile technology.
“What this is demonstrating is, yet again, that the DPRK is prepared to flout Security Council resolutions, which poses a big threat to regional peace and security, and global peace and security,” British Deputy Ambassador Peter Wilson told reporters.
“We unreservedly condemn this kind of action by the DPRK,” he said, referring to the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
This was not the first time an emergency meeting has been called by Japan, the United States and South Korea, and ended without a statement being issued, as all members must unanimously sign onto any statement.
China, as Pyongyang’s closest ally, has been increasingly resistant to issuing statements condemning the series of launches that have been ramping up this year. Beijing has argued against issuing statements lately and is pressing to solve the issue diplomatically.
The submarine-launched test-firing is the third of its kind this year and raises the stakes, with the North setting off alarm bells with its apparent progress in perfecting its technology.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared that it was the first case for this type of missile to reach the country’s air defense identification zone when it was test-fired around 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday off Sinpo, South Hamgyong Province.
After the closed-door meeting concluded, Japan’s Deputy Ambassador Yoshifumi Okamura, and Deputy U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison did not field questions nor did the American or Japanese representatives issue a joint statement.
“What we need now is a quick and firm reaction by the Security Council,” France’s Deputy Ambassador Alexis Lamek said to reporters.
“It is necessary, when it comes to issues of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, we cannot afford to be weak.”
While no Chinese representative spoke to the press, Russia’s Deputy Ambassador Peter Iliichev, described the meeting as a “usual discussion” that addressed the violations of past resolutions and looked at “finding the way for stabilization” as well as a “diplomatic, political solution to the problem.”