Asia Pacific / Politics

Europeans again condemn North Korea's missile launches

AP

Half a dozen European countries on Wednesday again condemned North Korea’s 13 “provocative” ballistic missile launches since May, saying they violate U.N. Security Council resolutions and undermine regional and international security.

A statement from the five European council members — Belgium, France, Germany, United Kingdom and Poland — and Estonia, which will join the U.N.’s most powerful body in January, also condemns recent North Korean threats “to partners in the region and beyond.”

The Europeans issued the statement after closed Security Council consultations they requested on North Korea’s latest missile launches on Nov. 28, where they were briefed by U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo. The 15-member council did not issue any statement.

The Europeans again urged North Korea “to engage in good faith in meaningful negotiations with the United States aimed at denuclearization, and to take concrete steps 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,” the Europeans stressed. “Continued provocations risk undermining the prospect for successful negotiations.”

North Korea has ramped up its missile tests in recent months, and experts say the launches are likely to continue as a way to pressure Washington into meeting Pyongyang’s demand for new proposals to revive nuclear diplomacy by the end of December.

Diplomatic efforts have largely remained deadlocked since a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed last February.

Last week, North Korea test-fired projectiles from what it called a “super-large” multiple rocket launcher that South Korea’s military said landed in the waters off the Norths’ east coast.

The European statement said: “It is vital that the Security Council ensures full implementation of its resolutions and that sanctions remain in place.” It urged all nations to fulfill their obligations “to strictly enforce these sanctions.”

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry warned Tuesday that it is entirely up to the United States to choose what “Christmas gift” it gets from the Kim Jong Un’s government. Kim’s military chief followed up Wednesday, lashing out at Trump for talking about a possible military option against the North.

North Korean officials have previously said that whether its moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests is lifted depends on what actions the U.S. takes by the end of the year.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters “I don’t imagine it’s a gift people want.”

“What’s really needed is for the North Koreans to take the concrete practical steps towards irreversible and verifiable denuclearization,” she said, explaining that her understanding is that North Korean experts haven’t engaged in detail with Americans following up on the Kim-Trump summit.

“I think the pattern of North Korean behavior so far is actually, unfortunately, more missile violations,” Pierce said.