U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday called on China and Russia to take “new measures” against North Korea in response to a missile launch by Pyongyang on Friday morning.
“We call on all nations to take new measures against the Kim regime,” Tillerson said. “China and Russia must indicate their intolerance for these reckless missile launches by taking direct actions of their own.”
Tillerson also suggested China and Russia could pressure the North by limiting its oil supply and the hiring of North Korean laborers.
“China supplies North Korea with most of its oil [and] Russia is the largest employer of North Korean forced labor,” the secretary said.
North Korea launched a missile towards the Sea of Japan (East Sea) early on Friday morning.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) released an early assessment stating that the missile reached an altitude of 770 km and flew 3700 km.
The launch prompted an emergency alert in Japan and swift condemnation from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“We can never tolerate that North Korea trampled on the international community’s strong, united resolve toward peace that has been shown in UN resolutions and went ahead again with this outrageous act,” Abe told reporters in the aftermath of the launch.
Friday’s test comes just days after the passage by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) of resolution 2375, which targets North Korea’s textile industry, applies caps on the transfer of refined petroleum products and natural gas to the country, and blacklists three major DPRK government bodies.
The measures were a noticeably watered down version of an initial draft resolution, however, which included a full ban on the export of oil to North Korea, authorized member states to use force when inspecting suspicious North Korean vessels, and prohibited the hiring of DPRK laborers.
Russia’s foreign ministry on Tuesday said Beijing and Moscow had succeeded in “revising the U.S.’s super-hard resolution, which focused on defoliating North Korea’s economy and risked catastrophic humanitarian influence on North Korea.”
Tillerson also suggested U.S. would push forward with additional unilateral sanctions against the regime.
“United Nations Security Council resolutions, including the most recent unanimous sanctions resolution, represent the floor, not the ceiling, of the actions we should take,” he said in the statement on Friday.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: U.S. State Department
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