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UN calls on North Korea to stop missile tests

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The United Nations on Monday called on North Korea to put a stop to its ballistic missile tests in order to open up the prospect of talks with world powers.

The appeal followed the launch on Sunday of a missile — the latest in a series this year as Pyongyang steps up its efforts to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States.

“These actions threaten regional and international security,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“We call on the DPRK to stop further testing and allow space to explore the resumption of meaningful dialogue.”

The Security Council will hold a closed-door emergency meeting on Tuesday at the request of the United States, Japan and South Korea to discuss the latest test.

After a previous test on May 14, the council met to discuss tightening sanctions but there was no concrete action.

“What is clear is that the DPRK is openly defying Security Council resolutions with its accelerated ballistic missile testing activities,” said Dujarric.

The United States has for weeks been negotiating with China, Pyongyang’s ally, on a new sanctions resolution, but US Ambassador Nikki Haley said last week that no final draft text had been agreed.

“This is the same movie that keeps playing. He continues to test. We’ve got to do action,” Haley said in an interview to MSNBC television.

“You know, some say, oh, but sanctions haven’t worked. First of all, when the entire international community speaks with one voice, it does work,” she countered.

During last week’s closed-door meeting, China insisted that there be no mention of a resolution in remarks read by the council president at the end of the meeting, diplomats said.

North Korea has carried out two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the beginning of last year in its quest to develop a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the continental United States.

The Security Council adopted two sanctions resolutions last year to ramp up pressure on Pyongyang and deny leader Kim Jong-Un the hard currency needed to fund his military programs.

Under UN resolutions, North Korea is barred from developing nuclear and missile technology.

The latest missile tested was the Pukguksong-2, which uses solid fuel that allows for immediate firing, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

So far almost all the North’s missiles have been liquid-fuelled, which have to be time-consumingly filled with propellant before launch.

Solid fuel missiles can be fired far more rapidly, dramatically shortening the time available for any attempt to intervene and prevent a launch.

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