South Korea strongly condemned the North's latest missile provocation on Monday, calling it a clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions and a grave threat both to the peninsula and the world.
North Korea fired off several ballistic missiles toward the East Sea from near its northwestern Dongchang-ri missile site earlier in the day. They flew about 1,000 kilometers before falling in Japan's exclusive economic zone.
The latest launch is timed with the ongoing joint military drills between South Korea and the United States. The North has long denounced the exercises as a rehearsal for a northern invasion.
The foreign ministry warned that the North would face consequences from its continued provocations and pursuit of nuclear and missile programs in defiance of the world's increasing pressure.
"As (this) is a blatant and clear violation of relevant UNSC resolutions and poses a grave threat not just to the Korean Peninsula but also to the world, we strongly condemn it," the ministry said in a statement.
"The North should realize that its repeated provocations and maniac obsession with nuclear and ballistic missile development would only accelerate its isolation and self-destruction," it added.
The ministry noted that the North carried out the latest provocation without taking heed of the shock and fear in the international community over the recent murder of its leader's half brother in Malaysia. The North is suspected of being behind his death.
The ministry warned that the North will "pay an unbearable price" through strong sanctions, and that it will induce cooperation among its allies and partner countries, including the US, Japan and European Union members. It also vowed to faithfully implement UNSC resolutions adopted in the wake of the North's fourth and fifth nuclear tests last year.
The unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs also condemned the North for launching four ballistic missiles, saying that the move constitutes a blatant violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolution.
"North Korea's missile launch is a blatant and clear violation of the UNSC resolution," Jeong Joon-hee, ministry spokesman, said at a regular press briefing.
North Korea is banned from testing any ballistic missile technology under a set of UN resolutions. Pyongyang carried out two nuclear tests last year alone and launched ballistic missiles in defiance of international condemnation. (Yonhap)