UN Security Council condemns North Korean missile launch

The U.N. Security Council has issued a strongly worded condemnation of the latest North Korean missile launch after the US agreed to Russia's request to include a call for "dialogue" with Pyongyang in the text.

US Vice President Mike Pence, on a tour of Asian allies, has said repeatedly an "era of strategic patience" with North Korea is over.

The council said North Korea's illegal missile and nuclear activities "are greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond" and expressed "utmost concern" at its "highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance" of six United Nations sanctions resolutions.

The row between Russian Federation and the United States came ahead of a Security Council ministerial meeting next week on North Korea that will be chaired by US Secretary of States Rex Tillerson.

Residents and local media in Russia's far east reported large military convoys travelling in the direction of the North Korean border since the weekend, in what appear to be contingency plans to contain fallout from a possible military clash between the United States and North Korea.

The council also warned the North of "further significant measures, including sanctions".

South Korea and the United States have also been conducting annual joint military exercises, which the North routinely criticises as a prelude to invasion.

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Meanwhile, Mr Trump has been accused of "shocking ignorance" after asserting that Korea "used to be a part of China" shortly after a meeting with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president. "I don't know", he told reporters.

In a tweet, Trump said: "China is very much the economic lifeline to North Korea so, while nothing is easy, if they want to solve the North Korean problem, they will".

Meanwhile, a USA naval strike group is on its way to the western Pacific Ocean in a bid to provide its presence near the Korean Peninsula amid concerns over Pyongyang's missile tests.

North Korea carried out a failed missile test on Sunday, a day after displaying missiles at a parade in Pyongyang.

"Without crossing the red line such as a nuclear test or a test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, until the April 25 anniversary of the Korean People's Army, North Korea is expected to continue to launch mid-range missiles", said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at Sejong Institute outside Seoul.

"Although North Korea attempted a missile launch but failed on April 16, considering the April 25 anniversary of the Korean People's Army, there are concerns that it can make another provocation again at any time", South Korea's acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn told top officials on Thursday.

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.


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