Japan pushed the UN Security Council today to consider fresh sanctions against North Korea for test-firing a series of ballistic missiles that it said were a threat to the region and the entire world.
The council strongly condemned the series of launches on Friday and agreed in a unanimous statement backed by China to take “further significant measures.”
“The number of provocative actions taken by North Korea has been phenomenal,” said Japanese Ambassador Kero Bessho following a closed-door meeting of the council.
Bessho stressed that the high number of launches had led to “quite noteworthy” advances in North Korea’s nuclear and missile technology programs.
“This presents a serious threat to the region and the world as a whole,” he told reporters.
North Korea has been hit by five sets of UN sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006.
The council in March adopted the toughest sanctions resolution to date targeting North Korea’s trade in minerals and tightening banking restrictions, after Pyongyang carried out its fourth nuclear test.
Bessho noted that 52 countries had so far presented reports detailing how they are enforcing the new raft of sanctions under resolution 2270, but added that more sanctions were necessary.
“For Japan, we feel that sanctions are necessary,” he said.
“We need to implement 2270 rigorously and we feel that we can do more in terms of sanctions in order to show to the DPRK that they just cannot keep on going in this way.”
North Korea is barred under UN resolutions from any use of ballistic missile technology, but Pyongyang has carried out several launches following its fourth nuclear test in January.
The council statement was adopted after several rounds of negotiations with China, Pyongyang’s ally, which has insisted over recent weeks on the need to avoid an escalation of tension on the Korean peninsula.
The Japanese ambassador said many council members supported the idea of further measures, but suggested that this fell short of a consensus.
“The council should be united in taking action,” said Bessho.
A previous bid by the council to condemn North Korea for firing a ballistic missile directly into Japanese-controlled waters on August 2 ran aground after China sought changes to the text.
The council was unable to agree after Beijing pressed for language in a statement opposing the THAAD missile defense system that the United States plans to deploy in South Korea.