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Putin Speaks Out Against Nuclear Expansion But Warns Against Intimidating North Korea

17 May 2017

But on Tuesday, a North Korean diplomat defended its recent missile test-launch, telling the UN Conference on Disarmament it was a legitimate act of self-defence under global law.

Ju Yong Choi said US' criticism of it was a "wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]". The missile landed about 60 miles south of Russia's Vladivostok region, but Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the test posed no immediate threat to his country.

The missile, which flew 430 miles and reached an altitude of more than 1,245 miles, went further and higher than the nation's last successful test launch.

The South Korean president has repeatedly pledged to seek dialogue with North Korea, having served as chief of staff when the last inter-Korean summit took place in 2007.

New sanctions were expected to be discussed at a closed council meeting Tuesday, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because talks have been private.

The members of the Security Council emphasised "the vital importance" of the DPRK "immediately showing honest commitment to denuclearization through concrete action and stressed the importance of working to reduce tensions in the Korean Peninsula and beyond", the statement said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Pyongyang over the missile launch and urged it return to denuclearization.

In April the North put dozens of missiles on show at a giant military parade through the streets of Pyongyang, including one that appeared to be the type of device launched on Sunday.

North Korean missiles
North Korean missiles

Following that launch, Washington began talks with China on possible new United Nations sanctions.

The United States sees China as key, U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Wood told reporters on a conference call.

"If the USA awkwardly attempts to provoke the DPRK, it will not escape from the biggest disaster in history", he said. "And we're going to continue, whether it's sanctions, whether it's press statements, anything that we have to do". "Ninety percent of the DPRK's trade is with China, so clearly there is a lot more leverage that China has, and we would like China to use".

Kim also told scientists to "continuously develop more precise and diversified nukes and nuclear striking means" and "make preparations for more tests till the US and its vassal forces" use reason to make the "right choice", the KCNA reported. They add that the development could raise tensions between Washington and Beijing - North Korea's major protector - and shows just how hard it is to curtail Pyongyang.

Amid condemnation in Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, a jubilant North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised more nuclear and missile tests and warned that his country's weapons could strike the United States mainland and Pacific holdings.

In a statement issued late on Monday evening, the UN's most powerful body expressed "utmost concern" at North Korea's "highly destabilising behaviour".

The fact that North Korea can target Japan and South Korea and very soon the US mainland has invoked the specter of "decoupling", as my colleague Ankit Panda argued in a piece earlier this month.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency called the launch a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear war head.

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Putin Speaks Out Against Nuclear Expansion But Warns Against Intimidating North Korea