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By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, May 25 (Yonhap) -- The United States called on the international community on Wednesday to condemn North Korea's latest missile launches and to implement all U.N. Security Council sanctions on the recalcitrant state.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price made the call in a briefing, calling the North Korean missile launches a threat to the region and to the entire world.
"We know that the DPRK's ongoing provocations pose a threat to the region, pose a threat to all of us," the spokesperson said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"And it's incumbent on the international community to join us in condemning the DPRK's flagrant and repeated violations of these multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions and to uphold their obligations under all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions," he added.
Meanwhile, the U.S. reportedly plans to call for a U.N. Security Council vote on imposing tougher sanctions on the North for its provocations.
Speaking to AFP, an unnamed senior U.S. official said a vote is expected "in the coming days" as it is "now time to take action." Reuters carried a similar report amid a widespread view that the veto-wielding members of the council -- China and Russia -- hold the key to whether a resolution on additional sanctions against Pyongyang would be adopted.
North Korea fired three ballistic missiles, including an apparent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), on Wednesday (Seoul time).
The launches marked the 17th of their kind this year, North Korea has conducted at least three known ICBM tests since the start of the year.
The call to hold North Korea accountable also comes amid speculation that Pyongyang may soon conduct a nuclear test to up the ante in its ongoing saber-rattling.
North Korea last conducted a nuclear test in September 2017. The country dismantled its key nuclear test site in Punggye-ri in 2018 to show its willingness to denuclearize.
Officials in Seoul, however, have recently said the North appears to have completed "all preparations" for a nuclear test. Price earlier said the U.S. shared the concern of a potential nuclear test by the North in the near future.
"We call on the DPRK to refrain from further provocation and to engage in sustained dialogue. Our commitment to the defense of the ROK and to Japan is ironclad," he said.
North Korea has avoided any dialogue with the U.S. since late 2019. It has also ignored all U.S. overtures since the Joe Biden administration took office in January 2021.
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