North Korea faced renewed pressure from the international community last night after the United Nations condemned the launch of two ballistic missiles into the sea.
The Security Council’s president, Luxembourg UN ambassador Sylvie Lucas, said the move was a violation of one of its resolutions and said members had agreed “to consult on an appropriate response”.
North Korea fired two mid-range missiles on Wednesday just as the leaders of the South, Japan and the United States pledged to curb its ambitions.
It was Pyongyang’s first launch of such missiles since 2009 and is regarded as a step up from the short-range rockets fired by North Korea in recent times.
South Korean officials believe the missiles were fired from the Suckon region north of Pyongyang and flew for about 400 miles before landing in the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.
They condemned the move as a “grave provocation”, while the US state department said the country had not issued any maritime notification warning of its latest test and described the launch as “a troubling and provocative escalation”.
Yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights council called for the Security Council to hold accountable those committing crimes against humanity in the Communist nation.
The Geneva forum adopted a resolution brought by Japan and the European Union, while North Korea rejecting it, saying, “Mind your own business”.
North Korea refuses to recognise the so-called Northern Limit Line that has been the naval border since 1953. The two sides have been technically at war ever since, as the fighting ended with a truce, not a treaty.
North Korean navy vessels crossed the line in 1999 and 2002, leading to clashes that killed an unidentified number of sailors on both sides.
A South Korean navy ship was sunk four years ago near the area of the latest infringement.
Meanwhile, South Korea yesterday sent back a North Korean fishing boat that had drifted across a disputed border off the west coast, the defence ministry said, defusing tensions in an area which has been the scene of deadly clashes in recent years.
North Korean state media said offshore fog and a malfunction with the boat had caused it to lose its way, but South Korean warships had surrounded the ship and fired warning shots before it could correct its course.
“We cannot ignore the outrageous, thuggish action taken by the South Korean warmongers to forcibly detain our ship, and commit acts of inhumane brutality towards our fishermen,” said the statement.