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(4th LD) Moon calls for UNSC measures against N. Korean missile launch

All News 16:33 July 04, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with reports of North Korea claiming successful launch of an ICBM, additional information, remarks in paras 3-8, 11)

SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday called for U.N. Security Council measures against North Korea for its latest missile provocation, officials at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

The president told his security and foreign relations officials to seek "UNSC measures in close cooperation with the country's allies, including the United States," Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said at a press conference.

Moon's remarks came at an emergency meeting of the National Security Council convened shortly after North Korea fired what initially appeared to be an intermediate missile in its sixth missile launch since the new South Korean president came into office May 10.

Later, the North's official media said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed an order to test launch a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) the day before, also claiming the success of its launch that took place at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Moon earlier noted the North may develop an ICBM in the "not too distant future."

The North Korean reports said the new ICBM, Hwasong-14, reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers, and flew 933 kilometers.

When launched at the right angle, the missile could reach up to 8,000 km, experts have noted.

Moon, even prior to the North Korean reports, told his security officials to handle the latest provocation as if it were an ICBM.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (second from L) chairs an emergency meeting of the National Security Council at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on July 4, 2017, shortly after North Korea launched what was believed to be an intermediate range missile in its sixth missile provocation since Moon came into office in May. (Yonhap)

"We plan to devise necessary measures assuming it may have been an ICBM," he told the NSC meeting, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

"I strongly urge North Korea to come out of its delusion that nuclear and missile development ensures its safety and make a decision to denuclearize," he said.

South Korean officials warned the North may face "much stronger sanctions" should its latest missile launch be confirmed to have involved an ICBM.

"If it is confirmed to have been an ICBM, I believe the level of pressure and sanctions currently imposed on North Korea will likely escalate," a ranking Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters, while speaking on condition of anonymity.

The latest North Korean missile launch came shortly after the South Korean president returned home from a visit to Washington, where he and his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, agreed to seek a phased denuclearization of the North, enabling a resumption of dialogue with the reclusive state following its initial steps to denuclearize.

"I express a deep disappointment and regret over the fact that North Korea staged such a provocation only a few days after President Trump and I urged North Korea to reduce its provocations, refrain from military action that causes instability, and make a strategic decision to abide by international duties and regulations," Moon said.

"North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles are a matter of our life or death that threatens the very safety and lives of our people and our allies. We will not tolerate any such threat under any circumstances."


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