North Korea fires missile, defying US push for new sanctions

Washington has asked China for help to negotiate with Pyongyang, without dismissing a military action.

North Korea has tested the launch of several ballistic missiles in recent months, and is reportedly developing a nuclear missile that, if launched, could reach the shores of the US.

Such an undertaking would involve a halt to all North Korea's nuclear- and missile-testing, the mothballing of its nuclear facilities and their eventual dismantlement, and highly intrusive United Nations inspections. Trump has sent a nuclear-powered submarine and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft supercarrier to Korean waters, and North Korea this week conducted large-scale, live-fire exercises on its eastern coast.

South Korean and US intelligence officials are trying to determine the type of missile used by North Korea for this launch.

The test came as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned the United Nations Security Council that failure to curb North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes could lead to "catastrophic consequences".

"It could have happened today exactly because we had the meeting", Italian UN Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, chair of the Security Council's North Korean sanctions committee, told reporters when hearing of the test.

China pushed back at Tillerson's call at the UN Security Council for it to do more to rein in Pyongyang, arguing that it was unrealistic to expect one country to solve the conflict.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the solution was not Beijing's responsibility and suggested resuscitating a process of dialogue with Pyongyang.

"The key to solving the nuclear issue on the peninsula does not lie in the hands of the Chinese side", Wang told the council in blunt remarks that Tillerson later rebuffed.

Russian Federation joined China in saying a military response would be disastrous and appealing for a return to talks and de- escalation.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also said that a misinterpretation or a bad move could have catastrophic consequences and declared that the option of force was completely unacceptable. "Diplomatic and financial leverage or power will be backed up by willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action, if necessary".

Such routine condemnation and a series of sanctions resolutions since 2006, when North Korea conducted its first nuclear test, have done little to impede its push for ballistic missiles and nuclear arms.

"North Korea's continued provocations in the face of the worldwide community's concerns and strong sanctions are no different from a threat that it will go its own way regardless of what anyone says", said a statement released by his campaign team. "We will only engage in talks with North Korea when they exhibit a good-faith commitment to abiding by the Security Council resolutions and their past promises to end their nuclear programs".

"Japan is watching how China will act in regard to North Korea".

People in Tokyo walk past a TV news report showing an image of Kim Jong Un while reporting North Korea's rocket launch.

China instead wants Pyongyang to freeze its military programmes in exchange for a halt to US-South Korean annual drills.

"Now is the time to seriously consider resuming talks."

"If the talks are unsuccessful, the U.S. might consider a military strike as the next option".

While the United States once talked about nuclear disarmament, Kim said it is spending a trillion dollars "in a bid to secure a nuclear edge" - and he said this issue should be addressed "before tabling the denuclearization of the DPRK".

The United States has been hoping North Korea's sole major ally, China, can bring pressure to bear.



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