Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 August 2020

European powers say North Korea missile launches broke UN resolutions

More talks needed with US rather than provocations, envoys say

South Korean people watch breaking news of North Korea's missile launch, at Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea, 25 July 2019.  EPA/KIM CHUL-SOO
South Korean people watch breaking news of North Korea's missile launch, at Seoul Station in Seoul, South Korea, 25 July 2019.  EPA/KIM CHUL-SOO

Britain, France and Germany said on Thursday that ballistic missile launches by North Korea were in breach of UN Security Council resolutions, in a strong stance at odds with the US.

South Korea’s military said that on Friday at 2.59am and 3.23am, missiles were fired from North Korea’s South Hamgyong Province into the East Sea.

It was the third missile launch from the North in a week. There were also launches on Wednesday and last week.

Last week's launch was the first such action since US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in June.

But on Thursday, the US president said he wasn't worried about Pyongyang's behaviour, calling the missiles very standard, short-range devices.

Pyongyang called it a "solemn warning" to South Korea over its planned military exercises with Washington.

Hours earlier, Mr Trump repeated his stance of last week, insisting he had “no problem” with the North's missile launches.

The Pentagon has said the annual drills will go ahead, regardless of the launches and threats from the North.

“We'll see what happens but short-range missiles are very standard," Mr Trump said as he left the White House for a rally in Ohio.

In a statement at the UN in New York, British, French and German ambassadors condemned Pyongyang's action.

“We are concerned about the launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea in the past few days," they said.

"We urge North Korea to take concrete steps towards its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the United States.

“Serious efforts by North Korea to re-engage diplomatically and to make progress on denuclearisation are the best way to ensure security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.”

Mr Trump is in a long-running but so far fruitless diplomatic process over the North's nuclear and missile programmes, which included three encounters between him and Mr Kim in a year.

They agreed to resume talks during their impromptu June encounter in the Demilitarised Zone that divides the peninsula, but that working-level dialogue has yet to begin.

Updated: August 2, 2019 02:33 AM

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