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Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. denounce N. Korean missile launch

All Headlines 01:05 July 05, 2017

SEOUL, July 5 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States have strongly denounced North Korea's latest missile launch in their emergency phone conversation, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha "strongly condemned North Korea's ballistic missile launch which came only days after the South Korea-U.S. summit urged the country to stop military provocations and come to the path of denuclearization," during her 15-minute phone talks with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Kang also stressed that South Korea will seek solid collaboration with the U.S and the United Nations Security Council to "sternly deal with" the latest North Korean provocation.

Tillerson stressed the importance of a "rapid and resolute diplomatic response" to the North Korean launch through "water-tight" collaboration between the allies, the ministry said in a statement.

In that vein, the U.S. will escalate anti-North sanctions by the UNSC and its own sanctions and pressure on North Korea, Tillerson was also quoted as saying. The U.S. will also double its efforts to get China to play a more active role in reining in North Korea, he noted.

The two ministers also characterized the recent summit between President Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump as a meaningful step in building a shared stance that prioritizes resolving North Korea's nuclear problem, and to use all means possible to do it peacefully, according to the statement.

They agreed to keep close communications through various channels including the forthcoming meeting of G-20 countries in Germany.

The phone conversation took place on the same day North Korea conducted its latest launch of a ballistic missile.

The North later announced that it was the country's first ICBM launch and claimed the Hwasong-14 ICBM reached an altitude of 2,802 kilometers and flew 933 km for 39 minutes before hitting an intended target in the East Sea, which would be dramatic progress in the North's missile technology if confirmed.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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