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(2nd LD) U.N. Security Council discusses N.K. missile launches

All News 06:35 April 29, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with meeting taking place in paras 1-3, 9; CHANGES headline)

NEW YORK, April 28 (Yonhap) -- The U.N. Security Council discussed North Korea's latest missile launches Thursday and plans to issue a statement condemning the launches, diplomatic sources said.

The United States requested the informal consultations after the North launched two intermediate-range Musudan ballistic missiles earlier Thursday in violation of U.N. resolutions.

Members of the council agreed to adopt a press statement denouncing the launches and urging the North to cease additional provocations, but the actual issuance of the statement is expected to come Thursday night or Friday morning as China asked for more time to consult with their government back home, the sources said.

Earlier, the U.S. State Department strongly denounced the North's launches as a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and said it would "raise our concerns at the U.N. to ensure that international resolve remains firm in holding the DPRK accountable for these provocative actions."

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric also denounced the launches.

"These types of actions by the DPRK are extremely troubling and we would yet again encourage the DPRK to cease any further provocative actions and return to full compliance of its international obligations," he said during a regular press briefing.

According to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the North launched one Musudan missile off its east coast early Thursday, but the missile crashed seconds after launch. The North fired another Musudan later in the afternoon, but it exploded mid-air after flying several kilometers.

It was the North's second and third attempts to test the mobile missile after the first attempt earlier this month.

The U.S. also confirmed the launches, saying that U.S. Strategic Command systems detected and tracked the Musudan missiles launched from the North's eastern coast city of Wonsan, and that "initial indications reveal the tests were not successful."

The launches were the latest in a series of provocative acts Pyongyang has undertaken to defy international pressure over its nuclear and missile program and assert the leadership of Kim Jong-un in the lead-up to next week's key meeting of the ruling Workers' Party.

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