US wants tougher UN sanctions over North Korean missile test

The United States has called for tougher UN sanctions after North Korea said it tested its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to date.

North Korean state media reported the North’s first long-range test since 2017, and South Korea and Japan said they had detected it.

Thursday’s launch extended a barrage of weapons demonstrations this year that analysts say are aimed at forcing the United States to come to terms with the idea of ​​North Korea as a nuclear power and removing crippling sanctions against its broken economy.

At a meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States would propose a resolution “to update and strengthen” Security Council sanctions. She declined to specify what these new measures might be.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

“It is clear that keeping silent, hoping that the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea) will also show restraint, is a failed strategy,” she said.

The council initially imposed sanctions after the North’s first nuclear test in 2006 and has tightened them over the years. But last fall, China and Russia, exercising their right of veto, called for the lifting of various sanctions against their neighbor.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Anna Evstigneeva said further sanctions would only harm the North Korean people, while Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun urged the council “to consider how to address the justified security concerns of the DPRK”.

He suggested the United States had not done enough to respond to the North’s self-imposed 2018 pause on long-range missile and nuclear testing and needed to “show goodwill” and “work harder.” to stabilize the situation” and resume the dialogue.

North Korea did not speak at the council meeting. A message seeking comments has been sent to its UN mission.

Meanwhile, the United States has imposed new sanctions on five entities and individuals in Russia and North Korea for transferring sensitive items to the North’s missile program, the State Department spokesperson said, Ned Price.

North Korean state television dramatized the missile testing process like a Hollywood movie, showing leader Kim Jong Un walking in slow motion past a giant missile wearing sunglasses and a black leather motorcycle jacket. After a series of quick cuts of Mr. Kim and military officials looking at their watches, Mr. Kim takes off his sunglasses and nods, and the missile is shown rolling out of the hangar.

North Korea Tensions in Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, walks through what the country says is a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile on a launcher (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

The Hwasong-17, which was fired at a high angle to avoid neighboring territorial waters, reached a maximum altitude of 6,248 kilometers (3,880 miles) and traveled 1,090 kilometers (680 miles) during a 67-minute flight before landing in waters between North Korea and Japan, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

KCNA claimed that the launch had achieved its technical goals and proved that the ICBM could be used quickly in wartime.

The South Korean and Japanese militaries had announced similar flight details, which analysts said suggested the missile could hit targets 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles) away when fired on a normal trajectory with a warhead weighing less than a ton. This would put the entire American continent within striking distance.

At an estimated length of around 25 meters (82 ft), the Hwasong-17 is the North’s longest-range weapon and, by some estimates, the largest road-mobile ballistic missile system in the world. North Korea revealed the missile at a military parade in October 2020 and Thursday’s launch was its first full-range test.

KCNA paraphrased Mr Kim, saying the new weapon would make the “whole world clearly aware” of the North’s enhanced nuclear forces.

He pledged that his army would acquire “formidable military and technical capabilities, impervious to any military threat and blackmail, and stand fully ready for a long-standing confrontation with the US imperialists”.