US to raise concerns at UN over North Korea's missile tests

People walk past a television screen at a railway station in Seoul on July 9 showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch.
People walk past a television screen at a railway station in Seoul on July 9 showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States warned on Monday (July 18) that it would raise concerns at the United Nations over the latest North Korean missile tests carried out in violation of Security Council resolutions.

"We strongly condemn this and North Korea's other recent missile tests, which violate UN Security Council Resolutions explicitly prohibiting North Korea's launches using ballistic missile technology," said Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, after Pyongyang test-fired three ballistic missiles.

"We intend to raise our concerns at the UN to bolster international resolve in holding the DPRK accountable for these provocative actions."

US Strategic Command said it detected and tracked three North Korean missile launches at 8.44pm GMT, 8.58pm GMT and 9.35pm GMT, just over a week after Pyongyang issued threats to respond to the planned deployment of a US anti-missile system in South Korea.

"The near back-to-back launch of two presumed Scud tactical ballistic missiles, followed by the presumed launch of a No Dong intermediate range ballistic missile approximately an hour later, occurred near Hwangju," it said.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, however, "determined the missile launches from North Korea did not pose a threat to North America", the STRATCOM statement added.

The UN Security Council has slapped a series of sanctions against the hermit state that ban the North from conducting ballistic missile tests.

STRATCOM said it joined other key US commands in remaining "vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations." Ross voiced renewed US support in defending its allies in the region against North Korean threats.

"Our commitment to the defense of our allies, including the Republic of Korea and Japan, in the face of these threats, remains ironclad. We remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies from any attack or provocation," he said.

"We call on North Korea to refrain from actions that further raise tensions in the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations."

The sophisticated US anti-missile defense system to counter the growing menace from Pyongyang, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system, or THAAD, will be deployed in Seongju county by the end of next year.

Both South Korean and US troops stationed in the South also have Patriot anti-air defense systems that can intercept enemy missiles at low altitudes.