North Korea on Monday boasted it successfully launched a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead, an escalation of its nuclear program that the U.N. Security Council warned could bring new sanctions on Pyongyang.
That is a slap in the face for South Korea's new president, Moon Jae-in, who has promised greater engagement with the North, and suggests that the missile launch was an attempt to improve Pyongyang's negotiating position with a more hardline US under President Donald Trump.
"The members of the Security Council expressed their utmost concern over the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance of the Security Council by conducting these ballistic missile launches in violation of its worldwide obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions (...)", the Security Council said.
It also said that North Korea is "greatly increasing tension in the region and beyond" and that the country should immediately show "sincere commitment to denuclearisation through concrete action".
South Korea's foreign ministry welcomed the latest UNSC statement as a "swift" and "resolute" response to the North's provocations, saying that it will prepare to discuss countermeasures in the upcoming emergency session of the council.
The North Korean missile test occurred days after Moon Jae-in, of the liberal Democratic Party of Korea, was sworn in as the president of South Korea, replacing his conservative predecessor Park Geun-hye, who was recently ousted in a corruption scandal.
North Korea on Sunday tested what appears to be its longest-range ballistic missile to date, saying it was capable of carrying a "heavy nuclear warhead".
Despite North Korea's claim that Sunday's test simulated a re-entry situation, South Korean defense officials say the North probably has yet to master the technology. "The president said we are leaving open the possibility of dialogue with North Korea, but we should sternly deal with a provocation to prevent North Korea from miscalculating".
Another aerospace engineering specialist, John Schilling, said the launch appeared to demonstrate an intermediate-range ballistic missile that could "reliably strike the United States base at Guam" in the Pacific.
Council diplomats said the language was significant because China, North Korea's strongest ally, signed on.
In recent years, North Korea successfully put satellites into orbit twice aboard long-range rockets in what the United Nations called a disguised test of long-range missile technology.
North Korea said Monda.
Kim Do-hoon, 31, said that South Korea, while keeping the "door open for conversation" with the North, should also "show a stern attitude at some level".
North Korea says it has no choice but to advance its nuclear and missile development to defend itself from attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the missile launch, telling reporters during a visit to China that "there's nothing good about" it. The UNSC adopted two resolutions for each of the nuclear tests previous year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday the North's latest missile test was risky, but warned against attempts to "intimidate" Pyongyang.