Trump calls for tougher sanctions on North Korea

White House says latest ballistic missile test should serve as a call for stronger sanctions against Pyongyang.

North Korea test-fires missiles - South Korean Defense Ministry
North Korea defies international community with renewed missile test [EPA/KCNA]

US President Donald Trump has called for tougher sanctions against North Korea after it test-fired a ballistic missile on Sunday.

The missile was fired from the region of Kusong, northwest of Pyongyang, where North Korea, in February, successfully test-launched an intermediate-range missile.

Multiple sets of UN and US sanctions against North Korea have done little to deter it from pursuing its nuclear and missile ambitions.

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“Let this latest provocation serve as a call for all nations to implement far stronger sanctions against North Korea,” the White House said in a brief statement.

The missile impacted “so close to Russian soil … the president cannot imagine that Russia is pleased”, the White House said, adding that North Korea “has been a flagrant menace for far too long”.

The projectile flew more than 700km before landing in the Sea of Japan. Russia’s defence ministry later said the missile landed about 500km from its border and posed no threat.

In April, Trump warned that a “major, major conflict” with the North was possible, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute over its nuclear and missile programmes.

France also condemned Pyongyang’s latest missile test in the first statement issued by the Foreign Ministry in Paris since Emmanuel Macron was sworn in as president.

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“France calls on North Korea to conform immediately with its international obligations and proceed to the dismantlement of its nuclear and ballistic program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in a statement.

China, which has been under growing US pressure to help rein in the nuclear-armed North, called for restraint.

“All relevant parties should exercise restraint and refrain from further aggravating tensions in the region,” the foreign ministry said.

New South Korean President Moon Jae-In, who was inaugurated on Wednesday, has also been conciliatory. But he slammed the missile test as a “reckless provocation” after holding an emergency meeting with national security advisers.

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Moon said Seoul strongly condemned this “grave challenge to the peace and security of the Korean peninsula and the international community”, according to his spokesman Yoon Young-Chan.

Moon, unlike his conservative predecessors, advocates reconciliation with Pyongyang but warned on Sunday that dialogue would be possible “only if the North changes its attitude“.

Moon had said in his inauguration speech that he was willing to visit Pyongyang “in the right circumstances” to ease tensions.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slammed the latest launch as “totally unacceptable” and a “grave threat” to Tokyo.

North Korea has staged two atomic tests and dozens of missile launches since the start of last year in its quest to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the US mainland.

Source: News Agencies