The U.N. Security Council is strongly condemning two North Korean ballistic missile launches this week, calling them a "grave violation" of a ban on all ballistic missile activity that is contributing to the country's nuclear weapons program.

The council reiterated its demand that North Korea end its "flagrant" violations, halt all nuclear tests and ballistic missile activity, and comply with five U.N. sanctions resolutions imposed since the country's first nuclear test in 2006.

In a statement approved Thursday by all 15 members, the council said Wednesday's launches improve North Korea's nuclear delivery systems and increase tensions in the region.

The council urged all countries to redouble efforts to fully implement sanctions against North Korea, especially those imposed in March which were the toughest in two decades.