Europeans condemn UN's meet on North Korea missile test

Last Updated 09 October 2019, 02:36 IST

The UN Security Council discussed North Korea's latest test of an underwater-launched ballistic missile Tuesday and its European members urged Pyongyang to abandon all weapons of mass destruction and engage in "meaningful negotiations" with the United States.

The Europeans read a joint statement after the closed meeting condemning the Oct. 3 test and a series of short-range ballistic missile launches in the previous weeks.

The statement called the launches "provocative actions" that are "in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions," which ban ballistic missile launches.

The Europeans urged North Korea "to engage in good faith in meaningful negotiations with the United States, and to take concrete steps with a view to abandoning all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner."

"There is no other way to achieve security and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the region," they said.

The council meeting was called by France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Council members Belgium and Poland joined in supporting the statement along with Estonia, which will join the council in January.

Germany's UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, asked about the reaction of the 10 other council members at the closed meeting, said: "There was actually unanimity around the table, and very critical on what has been done by the North Koreans."

"But everybody also expressed hope that these negotiations which started in Stockholm would restart," he told The Associated Press.

"There are always nuances," Heusgen said. "I have not seen a Russian delegate say 100 per cent he agrees with what the Americans have said, but taking this into consideration, there was a common line around the (council) table."

North Korea's UN Ambassador Kim Song denounced the meeting in advance, calling it "dangerous" and telling several journalists on Monday that it will increase "our desire to defend our sovereignty."

He said the United States is "behind the impure moves" of the three countries that called the meeting, saying it would not take place without the consent of the Trump administration.

The council meeting follows weekend discussions between the senior US and North Korean officials in Stockholm that broke down amid acrimony.

The talks were the first since the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in Vietnam in February due to squabbling over how much sanctions relief should be given to the North in return for dismantling its main nuclear complex.

Pyongyang's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Myong Gil told reporters at Beijing's airport on his way home Monday that "whether or not there are further talks will depend on the US".

He described talks with his US counterpart, Stephen Biegun, on Saturday as "very bad and sickening," and stressed that the US had "not presented any new initiative."

Ambassador Kim, the UN envoy, stressed the timing of the Security Council meeting, which he called "very important."

He said no matter what the United Kingdom, France and Germany pursue, "we will never tolerate this dangerous attempt" and will never sit idly by against those taking issue with what he repeatedly called "our defensive measures."

(Published 09 October 2019, 02:36 IST)

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