UN strongly condemns North Korean missile launch after delay

22 April, 2017, 01:37 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • China denies any political motive for the cancelled Air China flights

The UN Security Council condemned North Korea's latest missile test and threatened to impose new sanctions against Pyongyang for its "highly de-stabilising behaviour".

"The WC-135 Constant Phoenix, a special-purpose US plane, made an emergency sortie today over the East Sea", the source said, requesting anonymity.

US officials said there was a higher-than-usual level of activity by Chinese bombers, signalling a possible heightened state of readiness by reclusive North Korea's sole major ally, although the officials played down concern and left open a range of possible reasons.

It also tests operational readiness in the event of an actual provocation by the North, added the source.

The defence ministry said US and South Korean air forces were conducting an annual training exercise, codenamed Max Thunder, until April 28. While South Korea has given indications that it will go ahead with testing this system, China is not happy with the decision and has made it abundantly clear that they oppose the move. Moscow said military movements seen by residents there were part of pre-planned exercises.

Tensions have risen sharply in recent months after North Korea conducted two nuclear weapons tests a year ago and carried out a steady stream of ballistic missile tests. "I don't know", he told reporters.

The US defence ministry laster acknowledged the ships had actually travelled into the Indian Ocean to carry out manoeuvres with Australian forces, and only began their journey north recently.

China denies any political motive for the cancelled Air China flights

Asked earlier about Trump's comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Xi and Trump had had a full and deep discussion about North Korea when they met this month. "We feel very gratified about this". Trump has vowed to prevent North Korea from being able to hit the United States with a nuclear missile.

South Korea's acting president, Hwang Kyo-ahn, at a meeting with top officials on Thursday, repeatedly called for the military and security ministries to maintain vigilance.

Tensions have escalated over North Korean moves to accelerate its arms programs, including developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the United States and announcing that a declared priority is to develop a hydrogen bomb.

"Our party believes that denuclearization is possible only through a dialogue between North Korea and the US".

The US Navy's Carl Vinson Strike Group is set to be deployed to the Korean Peninsula amid growing fears related to Pyongyang's missile program, according to media reports.

There is concern the North will use the next big day on its calendar, April 25, to show off its strength.

On April 17, North Korea attempted to launch a ballistic missile that exploded within seconds after it took off, according to USA and South Korean defense officials.

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