World leaders condemn North Korea for firing missile over Japan
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Western leaders and diplomats from around the globe have condemned Pyongyang's launch of a missile over Japan, with US President Donald Trump saying Tuesday that "all options are on the table" in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat.
In a terse written statement, Trump said that North Korea's missile launch has "signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior".
"Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime's isolation in the region and among all nations of the world," Trump continued, adding: "All options are on the table."
For the first time on Tuesday, North Korea fired a midrange ballistic missile designed to carry a nuclear payload over Japan that splashed into the northern Pacific Ocean. The aggressive launch over the territory of a close US ally sent a clear message of defiance as Washington and South Korea conduct joint war games in the region.
The missile travelled some 2,700 kilometres (1,677 miles) over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and sparked new fears about a confrontation between Pyongyang and America's Asian allies in the region, especially as Trump has taken a hard line against the country.
The EU also denounced the North Korean launch as a breach of its international obligations that posed a "serious threat" to regional security.
"These actions constitute outright violations of the DPRK's (Democratic People's Republic of Korea's) international obligations, as set out in several UN Security Council resolutions, and represent a serious threat to international peace and security," EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.
"The DPRK must comply without delay, fully and unconditionally, with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and refrain from any further provocative action that could increase regional and global tensions," Mogherini added.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denounced the launch as an “unprecedented and grave threat” to his country’s security. Abe and Trump agreed to call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to deal with the threat in a 40-minute telephone call on Tuesday.
"Japan’s and the US positions are totally at one," Abe said in a statement.
The Downing Street office of British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was “outraged” by the latest display of force. "The prime minister is outraged by North Korea's reckless provocation and she strongly condemns these illegal tests," a spokeswoman said Tuesday.
May said she would discuss the missile launch with Abe during a visit to Japan this week.
“We will continue to work with our international partners to put pressure on North Korea to stop those illegal tests and, of course, I will have the opportunity on my visit to Japan over the next few days to be discussing those issues with Prime Minister Abe,” May said.
The foreign ministers of Russia and the United Arab Emirates urged North Korea to stop its provocations and obey United Nations resolutions.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi, the two ministers offered a forceful warning for Pyongyang, with Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan particularly calling for North Korea to stop its "provocations".
But the two ministers represent countries with their own diplomatic and commercial ties to North Korea, with the UAE in particular home to thousands of its workers whose wages help Pyongyang avoid international sanctions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is visiting the UAE as part of a tour of three Gulf Arab nations to discuss the diplomatic crisis with Qatar, also called on Pyongyang to comply with its UN obligations.
"Regarding North Korea and the missile tests it is conducting, we stick to the resolutions of the UN Security Council and we insist on the fact that our North Korean neighbors should fully respect those resolutions," Lavrov said.
"We base our position on these statements during discussions in the Security Council and will do the same in the session, which as far as we understand is being planned now and which will be dedicated to discussing the last missile launches from North Korea."
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)