US State Secretary Rex Tillerson calls for global action to end North Korea’s ICBM threat

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-fire of the missile.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-fire of the missile.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS/AFP) - US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday (July 4) called for global action after North Korea tested a newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), calling it a new escalation of Pyongyang’s nuclear threat.

His remarks came after the US requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss North Korea's declared test of  its first ICBM.

In a statement, Tillerson warned that any country that hosts North Korea workers, or provides economic or military aid to Pyongyang, or failed to implement United Nations sanctions “is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime.”

“All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Tillerson said.

The meeting between the US and the UN Security Council is expected to take place on Wednesday around 3pm (3am on Thursday, Singapore time).

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that while the US is still reviewing data, it now believes that North Korea likely did test such a missile. The officials said the launch appeared to be a test of a two-stage missile.

The US initially concluded that it was an intermediate-range missile and the administration has not yet officially changed that assessment. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un oversaw the launch of the Hwasong-14 missile, which experts say is capable of reaching Alaska.

North Korea’s Academy of Defence Science said it reached an altitude of 2,802km and flew 933km.

 

US Pacific Command confirmed the test and said it was a land-based, intermediate-range missile that flew for 37 minutes before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. It said the launch did not pose a threat to North America.

The launch came as Americans prepared to mark Independence Day, prompting President Donald Trump to urge China to act to “end this nonsense once and for all.”

US Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday spoke by phone with China’s Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds the council presidency this month, to convey the US request for an urgent meeting.