U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday evening condemned a North Korean test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), calling for “global action” to stop Pyongyang from continuing to advance its nuclear and missile program.
“Testing an ICBM represents a new escalation of the threat to the United States, our allies and partners, the region, and the world,” Tillerson said in a statement from the State Department.
“The United States seeks only the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the end of threatening actions by North Korea,” he continued. “As we, along with others, have made clear, we will never accept a nuclear North Korea.”
The United States is seeking an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and will move to take stronger action against countries that assist in funding North Korea’s missile and nuclear development, he added.
Initial U.S. reports on Tuesday morning’s reported ICBM test by North Korea identified it as an “intermediate-range ballistic missile”.
“Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement UN Security Council resolutions is aiding and abetting a dangerous regime,” Tillerson said in the statement. “All nations should publicly demonstrate to North Korea that there are consequences to their pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
Thousands of North Koreans are reportedly working abroad, with the vast majority in China and Russia. Laborers, however, have been documented everywhere from Qatar to Malaysia to Poland.
North Korea’s claim on Tuesday that it had successfully tested an ICBM has been met with international condemnation.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said in a statement that North Korea’s actions could lead to serious consequences and that Pyongyang may have “crossed a red line.”
Later in the day Russia and China released a joint statement condemning the launch, amid meetings between Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
The statement called on North Korea to give up its nuclear program, while also calling on the U.S. and South Korea to “refrain from carrying out large-scale joint exercises” and to stop the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system.
In response to the test, the U.S. and South Korean armies on Wednesday morning conducted a “combined exercise” of their ballistic missile defense capabilities on the Korean Peninsula.
Feature image: U.S. Department of State
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