UN sanction sought against North Korea
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Condemning North Korea’s recent launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the United States and its allies on Friday pressed for the imposition of sanctions against the rogue nation.
In a joint statement, the U.S., Japan and South Korea called on Pyongyang to “cease its unlawful and escalatory actions and promptly return to dialogue.”
North Korea on July 12 fired a long-range ballistic missile toward its eastern waters. South Korea's military said it detected the missile launch from the North's capital region.
“The DPRK’s launch of this ICBM threatened the safety of civil aviation and maritime traffic in the region,” reads a joint statement from U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and South Korea’s Foreign Affairs Park Jin.
The officials said Pyongyang’s action constituted “a clear, flagrant violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and poses a grave threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.”
“We will work together with the UN and the international community to ensure that UN Security Council resolutions that impose sanctions against the DPRK are fully implemented,” the statement said.
In a rare appearance at the U.S. Security Council on Thursday, Kim Song, North Korea's U.N. ambassador, defended the launch of the Hwasong-18 missile, claiming it was a legitimate exercise of his country’s right to self-defense.
Song accused the U.S. of raising regional tensions with nuclear threats and deploying a nuclear-powered submarine to South Korea for the first time in 14 years.
North Korea launched the missile while the U.S. and allied nations are conducting a large-scale mobility exercise, which began on July 5, in the Indo-Pacific region.
Exercise Mobility Guardian 2023, which features seven participating countries – Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States— is operating approximately 70 mobility aircraft across multiple locations spanning a 3,000-mile exercise area through July 21, according to the U.S. Air Force.
At Thursday's press briefing, Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, said the U.S. is not doing anything hostile.
“Our focus is on regional security and stability and peace for all peoples living in that region,” reads the transcript of Ryder’s press briefing.
“The activities that we're conducting, whether it be exercises or regional presence, are all defensive in nature, intended to strengthen our deterrence with our important allies, like the Republic of Korea and Japan, and to demonstrate and improve our interoperability,” Ryder said.
Ryder maintained that North Korea’s “provocative actions of launching missiles into the ocean and continuing to put out belligerent rhetoric serve to destabilize the region.”
“So again, we would call on North Korea to stop its provocative behavior. As you've heard the White House and State Department say and us, the door is open to diplomacy and we would hope that North Korea would take advantage of that opportunity,” Ryder said.
The United States reiterated that its commitments to defend South Korea and Japan are “ironclad and backed by the full range of capabilities, including nuclear.”
Blinken, Yoshimasa and Jin said they will continue to work closely with the international community to block North Korea’s illicit revenue generation through overseas workers and malicious cyber activities that fund its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.
“In addition, the three countries will further strengthen our trilateral security cooperation to effectively address the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats including by sharing DPRK missile warning data in real-time and by conducting missile defense exercises, anti-submarine exercises, and maritime interdiction exercises,” the officials said.