UPDATE – UN chief condemns North Korea’s latest missile test


By Canberk Yuksel

NEW YORK (AA) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday condemned a new missile launch by North Korea, only days after it conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test.

“The secretary-general condemns the launch of yet another ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 15 September,” a statement by Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, calling the launch a “manifest violation” of Security Council resolutions.

“The secretary-general calls on the DPRK leadership to cease further testing, comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions, and allow space to explore the resumption of sincere dialogue on denuclearization,” the statement said, referring to the North by its official acronym.

Guterres will be discussing North Korea tensions at the annual UN General Assembly starting next week.

Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the second time in less than a month early Friday, ignoring renewed global efforts to end its nuclear threat.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was launched from the Pyongyang area before flying a distance of around 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) over northeastern Japan and landing in the Pacific Ocean, according to local news agency Yonhap.

The projectile was assessed to be another intermediate-range ballistic missile, although it traveled 1,000 km (621 miles) further than the North’s previous test — placing U.S. forces and strategic assets in Guam well within the North’s range.

Following the “provocative” launch, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said past UN Security Council resolutions are the bare minimum response Pyongyang can expect as he called on China and Russia to take action against the North.

“China supplies North Korea with most of its oil. Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor,” he said in a statement. “China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”

Ahead of next week’s gathering of world leaders at the UN headquarters in New York, the U.S.’ UN envoy said past sanctions have cut 90 percent of North Korea’s trade with the outside world and 30 percent of its oil.

Nikki Haley told reporters at the White House that she has no problem sending the issue to the Pentagon to take up militarily if diplomacy fails to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Her comments were echoed by Trump’s National Security Advisor who cast aside suggestions that there are no military options to address the situation.

“We’ve been kicking the can down the road, and we’re out of road,” H.R. McMaster told reporters. “For those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option.”

“Now, it’s not what we would prefer to do. So what we have to do is call on all nations, call on everyone, to do everything we can to address this global problem short of war,” he said.

*Michael Hernandez contributed to this report from Washington.