United Nations Security Council Condemns North Korea Missile Launches

The U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea's recent missile tests Monday, following the country's firing of seven ballistic missiles over the weekend on U.S. Independence Day, the reclusive country's biggest display of missile firepower in three years.

Uganda U.N. Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda, who holds the 15-member council's rotating presidency, said the council members "condemned and expressed grave concern" at the missile launches, which violated U.N. resolutions and "pose a threat to regional and international security." The council is committed to a "peaceful, diplomatic and political solution" to the situation, he said.

On Saturday, North Korea fired missiles into the ocean off its east coast in violation of three U.N. resolutions.

Security Council members agreed that Pyongyang "must comply fully with its obligations" under the resolutions, Rugunda said.

The North's missile tests aggravated tensions that were already high after its May 25 underground nuclear test blast.

The council punished the North after its May nuclear test with a resolution and tough sanctions to clamp down on alleged trading of banned arms and weapons-related material, including authorizing searches of suspect ships.

Japan requested Monday's Security Council meeting. Japanese U.N. Ambassador Yukio Takasu said the council should act "calmly and responsibly" and focus on enforcing existing resolutions.

"Those are very effective measures if everyone implements them," Takasu said.

He said Japan has asked all Southeast Asian nations, except junta-ruled Myanmar, also known as Burma, to enforce the U.N.'s North Korea resolutions. Takasu credited the new resolutions with forcing a North Korean ship suspected of possibly carrying illicit cargo to turn back. The ship was expected to return home Monday.