UN condemns North Korea over missile launches as Security Council threatens retaliation

Pyongyang claimed the drills were an act of war and launched the missile tests in preparation for a strike on US bases in Japan, according to North Korea media.

The US also announced it had begun deploying the first parts of their Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-missile system to South Korea and it is expected to be in full operation by April.

The UN Security Council is set to briefed on the missile launches later today.

In a statement ahead of the meeting, the council criticised the rocket tests and said: “Such activities contribute to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s development of nuclear weapons delivery systems and increase tension in the region and beyond as well as the risk of a regional arms race.”

North Korea has been under UN sanctions and an arms embargo since 2006 aimed at impeding the development of its banned nuclear and missile programs

The council has strengthened sanctions following each of Pyongyang’s five nuclear tests.

The statement continued: “The members of the Security Council further regretted that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is diverting resources to the pursuit of ballistic missiles while Democratic People’s Republic of Korea citizens have great unmet needs.”

The Security Council has also called on UN member states to increase sanctions against North Korea.

US Pacific Command chief Admiral Harry Harris said: “Continued provocative actions by North Korea, to include yesterday’s launch of multiple missiles, only confirm the prudence of our alliance decision last year to deploy THAAD to South Korea.

“We will resolutely honour our alliance commitments to South Korea and stand ready to defend ourselves, the American homeland, and our allies.”

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